AirTalk for April 17, 2013

Suspicious mail to Obama and Wicker positive for ricin

Letter Sent To MS Senator Roger Wicker Tests Positive For Ricin

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

An official walks past a hazardous materials response team truck outside a mail sorting facility on April 16, 2013 in Hyattsville, Maryland. An envelope addressed to U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) tested positive for ricin at the facility where mail bound for the U.S. Capitol is sorted.

Suspicious mail that was sent to the White House and to Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker both tested positive for ricin, a deadly poison. Both letters are postmarked from Memphis, Tennessee, and the police may have a suspect, according to The Associated Press (AP).

An intelligence bulletin obtained by AP reports that both letters say, “To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance," and both letters are signed, "I am KC and I approve this message."

RELATED: FBI: Suspicious letters mailed to President Obama, US senators may contain poisonous ricin (Update)

The letters were postmarked April 8, before the Boston bombings. Government officials are checking other suspicious mail, and the letters are currently under further testing because preliminary tests can show false positives.

Is there a connection between these letters and the Boston bombings? How do government officials screen for suspicious packages?  Where does mail get screened? What protocols are in place to protect the safety of those who screen mail?

Guests:
Justin Sink, a staff reporter for The Hill, who’s been covering the story

Leonard Cole, Director of the Program on Terrormedicine and Security at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey; author of "The Anthrax Letters: A Bioterrorism Expert Investigates the Attack That Shocked America" (Skyhorse Publishing, 2009)


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