Milt Leitenberg, a University of Maryland bioterrorism expert, said ricin is a poison derived from the same bean that makes castor oil. According to a Homeland Security Department handbook, ricin is deadliest when inhaled. It is not contagious, but there is no antidote.
The letter to the Mississippi Republican was intercepted at an off-site mail screening facility and never reached the Hill.
Wicker thanked law enforcement officials in a statement for “their hard work and diligence in keeping” those who work in the Capitol safe, adding that the matter is part of an ongoing investigation by Capitol Police and the FBI. “Gayle and I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers,” he said.
As of Tuesday night, mail delivery had only been stopped to the Senate, not the House.
“It is of concern,” Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said after learning about the incident in a briefing with other senators late Tuesday.
The envelope had a Tennessee postmark and no return address.
The letter inside included an implied threat to effect of: “You haven’t listen to me before. Now you will, even if people have to die,” Politico also reported.
Sources say officials are familiar with the person believed to have sent the letter as the person has sent other letters before.
FBI Director Robert Mueller and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano were on Capitol Hill on Tuesday for a scheduled talk about cyber security. But that briefing morphed into talks about Boston, after the bombings Monday.
Senate Sergeant at Arms Terry Gainer conducted a separate briefing for senators specifically on ricin.
It’s unclear whether the letter had any connection to the Boston attack.
The mail-screening system was established after the Anthrax attacks of 2001 that closed the Hart Senate Office Building.
Source: foxnews.com/Fox News’ Chad Pergram and Mike Levine and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
The United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday signed off on a sweeping, first-of-its-kind treaty to regulate the international arms trade, brushing aside worries from U.S. gun rights advocates that the pact could lead to a national firearms registry and disrupt the American gun market.
The long-debated U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) requires countries to regulate and control the export of weaponry such as battle tanks, combat vehicles and aircraft and attack helicopters, as well as parts and ammunition for such weapons. It also provides that signatories will not violate arms embargoes, international treaties regarding illicit trafficking, or sell weaponry to a countries for genocide, crimes against humanity or other war crimes.
With the Obama administration supporting the final treaty draft, the General Assembly vote was 154 to 3, with 23 abstentions.
American gun rights activists, though, insist the treaty is riddled with loopholes and is unworkable in part because it includes “small arms and light weapons” in its list of weaponry subject to international regulations. They do not trust U.N. assertions that the pact is meant to regulate only cross-border trade and would have no impact on domestic U.S. laws and markets.
Critics of the treaty were heartened by the U.S. Senate’s resistance to ratifying the document, assuming President Obama sent it to the chamber for ratification. In its budget debate late last month, the Senate approved a nonbinding amendment opposing the treaty offered by Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, with eight Democrats joining all 45 Republicans backing the amendment.
“The Senate has already gone on record in stating that an Arms Trade Treaty has no hope, especially if it does not specifically protect the individual right to bear arms and American sovereignty,” Sen. Thad Cochran, a Mississippi Republican who backed Mr. Inhofe’s motion, said in a statement. “It would be pointless for the president to sign such a treaty and expect the Senate to go along. We won’t ratify it.”
Despite the Senate vote, numerous groups have pressured President Obama to support the treaty, and Amnesty International hailed Tuesday’s vote.
“The voices of reason triumphed over skeptics, treaty opponents and dealers in death to establish a revolutionary treaty that constitutes a major step toward keeping assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons out of the hands of despots and warlords who use them to kill and maim civilians, recruit child soldiers and commit other serious abuses,” said Frank Jannuzi, deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA.
The American Bar Association also released a white paper arguing that the treaty would not affect Second Amendment rights.
General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic said Tuesday that the lack of a regulatory framework on the import and transfer of conventional arms “has made a daunting contribution to ongoing conflict, regional instabilities, displacement of peoples, terrorism and transnational organized crime.”
“Whatever the outcome of today’s meeting, for a treaty to be effective, we will need to keep working together to fulfill its goals,” he said.
Under the treaty, countries must also consider whether weapons would be used to violate international humanitarian or human rights laws, facilitate acts of terrorism or organized crime.
Proponents had hoped that the treaty could be ratified by acclamation at a final negotiating conference last week, but Syria, Iran and North Korea objected.
The final vote Tuesday was 154 countries in favor, three against, and 23 abstaining.
Some abstaining countries, like India and Egypt, felt the treaty did not go far enough on its language regarding terrorism and human rights.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC
Every year my husband and I make an annual appointment to have our house inspected just to make sure there are no unwelcome guests living in our home. I got the phone call from the exterminator on Tuesday to tell me they wanted to set up a date. My husband told me to make it Friday, at 1:30 because he would be off that day and if there was something he could take care of it.
Today the doorbell rang at 1:15. I look out the window and there sits the company truck of our exterminator. I was sitting on the love seat in my pajamas, reading “Rhythms of Grace” posts, and had gotten so into them I forgot the time. I also forgot the “bug man” was coming! I looked at my husband with sheer panic on my face and he looked at me and grinned! I “whispered”, “Oh no!!! Look at me!!” He grinned wider!
I raced to the bedroom, slammed the door, locked it, and threw on my clothes. I then cleaned our room in what seemed like seconds. Jewelry I had left out was being thrown into drawers, along with my pajamas. If a professional baseball team had seen me I would be signing papers right now as a pitcher!!
I came out, and “the bug man” was in my wash room. Things began to fly in the kitchen! I looked at my husband’s office and decided not to worry about it, I mean everyone has to have ONE junk room in their house, right?
The dogs were going crazy and jumping all over me as though a serial killer had entered! I started thinking about it all. You really can make a cluttered house look immaculate in less than three minutes. Just make an appointment with a “bug man”. I can’t tell my husband this, he will have him over everyday!