Assassination attempt against Mattis, Chief of Navy Operations thwarted at the Pentagon

U.S. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis speaks during the National POW/MIA Recognition Day Ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Sept. 21, 2018. The day is observed every year on the third Friday in September and honors those who were prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action. (DoD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith)

The FBI is investigating at the Pentagon after two packages believed to contain the poison ricin were sent to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson.

The packages, which were delivered Monday, were intercepted as they were undergoing security screening at an off-site mail processing center before arriving at the Pentagon, according to spokesman Chris Sherwood.

“On Monday, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency detected a suspicious substance during mail screening at the Pentagon’s remote screening facility,” Army Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.

“The envelopes were taken by the FBI this morning for further analysis,” he said.

“It’s suspected to be ricin,” said Pentagon spokesman Chris Sherwood.

Ricin is a naturally occurring poison that can be made from castor beans and can be turned into a powder.  If ingested, it causes nausea, vomiting and internal bleeding of the stomach and intestines, followed by failure of the liver, spleen, and kidneys, and death by collapse of the circulatory system.

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