FBI offers details on ricin-laced letter to White House

Feb 25, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – The FBI this week released a photo of a letter addressed to the White House last fall that contained ricin and threatened to "turn D.C. into a ghost town" if new trucking regulations went into effect.

The letter stated, "If you change the hours of service on January 4, 2004 I will turn D.C. into a ghost town. The powder on the letter is RICIN have a nice day Fallen Angel."

The letter was processed Oct 17, 2003, at a postal facility in Chattanooga, Tenn., the FBI said in a news release. Officials reported previously that the letter arrived Nov 6 at an off-site facility that processes mail for the White House. A photo of the envelope, also released by the FBI Web site, showed that the ZIP code was wrong.

Another letter signed "Fallen Angel" was found Oct 15 at an airport postal facility in Greenville, S.C. That letter contained a small metal vial that contained ricin powder. The typewritten letter said the writer had large amounts of ricin and would use it if new rules limiting how long truckers can drive without rest went into effect. The rules took effect Jan 4 (2004), the FBI noted.

Authorities still have found no clear link between the "Fallen Angel" letters and ricin powder that was found Feb 2 on a letter-opening machine in the office of Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., according to a Feb 24 Washington Post report. That discovery triggered the temporary shutdown of several Senate office buildings. Officials kept the letter addressed to the White House secret until the Senate incident.

The FBI offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the threatening letters. The agency said anyone with a tip should call 1-866-839-6241.

See also:

FBI news release

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