The Secret Service is reporting that at least two suspicious letters delivered to the Pentagon’s mail room on October 1 may contain the deadly chemical ricin. Later, one addressed to the President was also delivered. Fortunately, the envelopes were immediately tested and quarantined before reaching the President or putting anyone at risk.
• Details about the envelopes, which were immediately quarantined, are still scarce. However, a Secret Service spokesperson did “confirm receipt of a suspicious envelope,” also pointing out that it did not “enter the White House,” at any time.
• Another source connected with the President and the White House claims that the substance found inside the envelopes was a crude “castor bean concoction.” As ricin is extracted from castor bean plants, this may be a sign that the individual responsible isn’t necessarily a professional.
• The Pentagon’s mailroom is no stranger to attempted terror and assassination plots, which is probably why the mail was detected in the first place. In fact, an entire series of contaminated letters were seized before entering the White House in 2003, during President Bush Jr.’s reign.
• Ricin contamination is especially concerning because of the severe and fatal side effects associated with the drug, including nausea, vomiting, internal bleeding, liver failure, kidney failure, and circulatory system collapse.
• The tiny fractional dose required to harm someone makes ricin a terrifying prospect for political leaders. It can be delivered in a powder, pellet, mist or acid in amounts small enough to be virtually undetectable without careful attention. If such an envelope was small enough, the opener could potentially spill the grains out and onto their skin.
• October 1st’s letters were allegedly co-addressed to two other specific parties: Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Admiral John Richardson. On October 2nd, they were handed over to the FBI, who continue to investigate and will likely confirm if the chemical is truly ricin in the coming days.