At least two packages were mailed to the Pentagon this week and are suspected to retain the poison ricin. The FBI is now investigating both of these packages, along with other mail partials, the Pentagon reported Tuesday.
The packages were addressed to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, a defense official said on the condition of not being named. The packages triggered alarms Monday because they were undergoing security screening at the mail processing center which is about the Pentagon campus, however, not inside building.
“It’s suspected to become ricin,” said Pentagon spokesman Chris Sherwood.
The envelopes were taken through the FBI this morning for additional analysis, said Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Rob Manning. The Pentagon mail that arrived while using packages Monday is on hold.
Later Tuesday the Pentagon allowed reporters to view the power where every part of inbound mail is inspected and screened before it’s in a position to begin its intended recipient. Inside, over two dozen Department of Defense employees work 24 hours a day, screening the more than 500,000 components of mail sent towards the Pentagon every year, a DoD official said about the condition of anonymity. In addition for the employees’ physical screen, you will find additional tests that the official wouldn’t normally elaborate on.
The official would not want to say whether the ability had ever previously were built with a positive result like Monday’s ricin results, but indicated that it turned out extremely rare.
The screeners undergo regular tests and wear protective suits while working, due towards the nature of the work, the state run said.
“All USPS mail received with the Pentagon mail screening facility yesterday is now under quarantine and poses no threat to Pentagon personnel,” Manning said.
Ricin is a naturally sourced poison that may be made out of castor beans which enable it to be turned into a powder.