The Secret Service failed to tell law enforcement and public health officials for five days last year that the poison ricin had been found at the White House mail-processing center, reports USA Today. “In hindsight, we recognize the importance of timely notifications to our partners in law enforcement and public health,” Secret Service spokeswoman Ann Roman said.
The FBI is investigating whether ricin found in a Senate office is connected to the White House letter in November and an incident in Greenville, S.C., where a letter containing a vial of ricin was left in a post office Oct. 15.
No one has become ill, and the Senate is expected today to begin reopening three buildings closed since Monday. FBI agents suspect the White House and Greenville letters are linked because of the poor quality of ricin accompanied by messages signed by “Fallen Angel.” The sender demanded the repeal of rules limiting truckers’ driving hours, or “I will start dumping” ricin.
The White House ricin letter was intercepted by the Secret Service Nov. 6 at an off-site mail-processing center. On Nov. 7, ricin was detected at the mail facility. The White House, FBI, and other agencies were not notified until Nov. 12. “There was no plan to keep this from anybody,” said Charles Bopp, a Secret Service spokesman. “It was … making sure of what we had before anything was done.”