Category Archives: Biological Attacks

Police: Utah Man Suspected of Mailing Ricin to Trump, Mattis Arrested

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breitbart.com

By Joshua Caplan

A man suspected of mailing ricin to President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary James Mattis was taken into police custody in Logan, Utah, according to authorities.

Captain Tyson Budge of the Logan Utah Police Department announced the arrest to news outlets Wednesday afternoon.

“No wider threat to the public safety exists at this time,” said FBI Salt Lake City field office spokesman Doug Davis. “As it is a pending matter, that’s all we can say at this time.”

A spokesperson for the U.S. attorney for Utah identified the suspect as William Clyde Allen III.

Authorities were investigating two envelopes suspected of containing a suspected poison addressed to top military chiefs and a third with unknown contents sent to President Donald Trump.

In a statement Tuesday evening, the Secret Service confirmed that a suspicious envelope had been sent to the president on Monday but was not received at the White House, nor did it ever enter the building. The agency did not disclose any details about what was in the envelope or where it was received. The White House had no comment.

Authorities at a Pentagon mail screening facility were investigating two envelopes suspected of containing ricin, a poison made from castor beans. Those letters were addressed to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who is traveling in Europe this week, and the Navy’s top officer, Adm. John Richardson, a defense official said.

They were turned over to the FBI for further analysis. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly ahead of the FBI’s release of its findings.

Neither envelope entered the Pentagon. The mail screening facility is on the Pentagon grounds but separate from the main building.

Pentagon spokesman Chris Sherwood said the envelopes had been found on Monday.

Another Pentagon spokesman, Col. Rob Manning, said all U.S. Postal Service mail received at the screening facility on Monday was under quarantine and “poses no threat to Pentagon personnel.”

Ricin is part of the waste “mash” produced when castor oil is made. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if it is made into a partially purified material or refined, ricin can be used as a weapon capable of causing death under certain circumstances.

Dana W. White, the chief Pentagon spokeswoman, told reporters traveling with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in Brussels that the substance was castor seeds.

 

Two Hospitalized After ‘White Powdery Substance’ Discovered At Ted Cruz Campaign Office

 

Less than an hour after CNN reported that two envelopes tainted with the deadly poison ricin had been intercepted at a Pentagon Mail Facility (the pieces of mail were addressed to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Navy Admiral John Richardson), the Weekly Standard reported that an envelope containing a “white powdery substance” was received by Ted Cruz’s Houston campaign headquarters.

Multiple fire trucks and at least one hazmat truck responded to the scene after the letter was opened by campaign staff, who promptly reported it to authorities.

According to WS, two people were hospitalized following exposure to the powder, though the Houston Fire Department later confirmed that the substance didn’t test positive for anything harmful.

Science agency to review FBI’s anthrax inquiry

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HAGERSTOWN, Md.


The National Academy of Sciences said Friday it will review the lab work behind the FBI’s conclusion that Army scientist Bruce Ivins was responsible for the anthrax mailings that killed five people in 2001.

The FBI will pay the Washington-based society nearly $880,000 for the independent, 15-month committee review of the genetic and chemical studies investigators used to link Ivins to the attacks, academy spokeswoman Jennifer Walsh said.

The review, which was requested by the FBI, won’t assess the evidentiary value of the bureau’s detective work or the FBI’s conclusion that Ivins acted alone, the academy said.

Ivins’ lawyer, Paul Kemp, has said the scientist was innocent and would have been cleared if the case had gone to trial. Some of Ivins’ colleagues have expressed doubt about the FBI’s conclusions.

Ivins was a civilian researcher at Fort Detrick in Frederick. He killed himself in July as investigators were preparing to charge him.

The scientific review was first reported in The New York Times.

The FBI’s conclusions were based on microbial forensics, a relatively new field combining crime-investigation techniques and advanced microbiology. The bureau said scientists performed extensive tests that connected the anthrax used in the letters to that in a flask controlled by Ivins.

The academy said it will evaluate “the reliability of the principles and methods used by the FBI, and whether the principles and methods were applied appropriately to the facts.”

Specifically, the committee will review genetic studies used to identify potential sources of the anthrax in the letters and analyses of four genetic mutations that were found in the mailed anthrax. The committee will also look at chemical and dating studies that examined how, where, and when the spores may have been grown and the role that cross-contamination might have played in the evidence collected.

Five people died in October and November 2001 from anthrax inhalation or exposure linked to the letters. They were a Florida photo editor, two postal workers in Washington, a hospital employee in New York City and a 94-year-old woman in Oxford, Conn.

Another Fort Detrick scientist, Steven J. Hatfill, received $5.8 million from the Justice Department in June to settle his lawsuit claiming the government wrongly implicated him in the attacks by publicly labeling him a “person of interest” in the investigation.

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