Mississippi Man Is Arrested in Sending of Suspicious Letters

Washington D.C.Federal agents arrested a man on Monday suspected of sending letters feared contaminated by the poison ricin to President Obama and a Mississippi senator, according to two officials with knowledge of the case. The suspect was identified as Paul Kevin Curtis of Tupelo, Miss. The arrest, two days after the letters were intercepted in mail-sorting facilities for the White House and Capitol, was based on the information collected “very early on” about who had sent the letters, said one of the officials. Letters contained a postmark from Memphis, no return address, Senate officials said. Tupelo is the hometown of Senator Roger Wicker, the Republican senator to whom one of the letters was addressed. Letters were signed: “I am KC, and I approve this message.” The speedy arrests in the case may calm nerves in the nation’s twitchy capital, where it had begun to feel like the fraught weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when anthrax-laced letters were mailed to media organizations and 2 Democratic senators, killing five people and making 17 others sick. Late Wednesday morning, on Capitol Hill, Hart Senate Office Building was shut down, with no one allowed to enter, but the building was not evacuated. Capitol Police officers were yelling at staff members in the hallways to get back in their offices. “Apparently there was a package over there, they said to walk the way I have,” Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, said as he left the Hart building heading to the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The Capitol Police confirmed a suspicious package was found on the atrium level of the Hart building, as well as on third floor of the Russell Senate Office Building. They also said officers were talking to a man in the Hart building about the suspicious packages. Building was reopened a short time later. Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, also released a statement on Wednesday saying a suspicious letter had been found at his office in Saginaw. After the letter thought to contain ricin was sent to Mr. Wicker, the senators were briefed on protocol for their state offices to follow if they received a suspicious letter. “Earlier today, a staffer at my Saginaw regional office received a suspicious-looking letter,” said the statement released by Mr. Levin’s office. “The letter was not opened, the staffer followed proper protocols for the situation, including alerting authorities, who are now investigating. We do not know yet if the mail presented a threat. I am Grateful for my staff’s quick response + government personnel at all levels who are responding” (source: NYTimes – 17/04/2013) 

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23 Responses to Mississippi Man Is Arrested in Sending of Suspicious Letters

  1. Jim Steinberg: We have no suspects let alone answers to the Boston slaughter and now the attempted murder of our president by poison. After four years of unrelenting far-right hatred for President Obama and our USA’s direction (that is, the direction in which the large majority of Americans voted to steer our USA), my top “usual suspect” is a sneaky, hate-fueled, far-right political loser — or a group of them. That’s my prejudice, and I most certainly may be wrong. But that’s what all the bitter, far-right political hatred has left me to surmise, my best guess.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/18/us/politics/officials-intercept-suspicious-letter-sent-to-obama.html

  2. Avenging Angel: You seem to have a lot of anger Jim Steinberg, accusing others who do not share your point of view of violence. Perhaps you are the culprit since you don’t agree with my right wing values?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/18/us/politics/officials-intercept-suspicious-letter-sent-to-obama.html

  3. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: The Boston Marathon mayhem and poisoned letters delivered to high level politicians give a disturbing reading of the US society in 2013. First, the state became more truculent against real and perceived foreign enemies. Stealth drone assassination is Obama’s administration foreign policy trade mark. Second, the country now is turning against itself, Americans against Americans. A dominant feature of American life since the country became independent from Great Britain in the 18th century. Is this the end or the beginning of a new era for the American people?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/18/us/politics/officials-intercept-suspicious-letter-sent-to-obama.html

  4. Mellow: @newsey, that senator has advocated new gun safety measures, and thus has been blacklisted by the NRA.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/18/us/politics/officials-intercept-suspicious-letter-sent-to-obama.html

  5. Looking at scenes of the Boston sidewalk a few hours after Monday’s bombing — torn clothing, bloodstains, shards of glass — I found my mind going back to a similar sidewalk in Tel Aviv in September 2003. A Hamas suicide bomber had blown himself up at a bus stop outside the Tsrifin army base, and by coincidence I was nearby and got there to witness the immediate aftermath. As I wrote then, parts of the bomber were still on the street, including his hairy leg. His shoe had been blown off, but his brown sock was still daintily on his foot. Israeli rescue workers calmly carried away the dead on stretchers, with an odd mix of horror and routine. But what I remember most was something the police spokesman said to me: “We will have this whole area cleaned up in two hours. By morning, the bus stop will be repaired. You will never know this happened” (…..)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/17/opinion/friedman-bring-on-the-next-marathon.html

  6. Professor Uziel Nogueira says:


    The Boston Marathon bombing can be interpreted two ways, regardless if it was carried out by foreign or domestic foes. Retribution and random vengeance or more diplomacy, less force in dealing with the world. Let’s face it. The US is not making many friends lately.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/17/opinion/friedman-bring-on-the-next-marathon.html

  7. While the Boston area lay paralyzed by a lockdown, with one terror suspect dead and another on the loose as a massive manhunt filtered through the area’s arteries, we got a better sense of the second young man. It’s complicated. The suspects were brothers. The one who was on the loose was taken into custody on Friday evening. He was the younger of the two, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19. The elder, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a confrontation with authorities, but not before participating in the fatal shooting of an M.I.T. police officer, the carjacking of an S.U.V. and the shooting of a transit police officer, who was critically injured. They were of Chechnyan heritage. Tamerlan was a boxer; Dzhokhar, a college student. “A picture has begun to emerge of 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev as an aggressive, possibly radicalized immigrant who may have ensnared his younger brother Dzhokhar — described almost universally as a smart and sweet kid — into an act of terror,” The Boston Globe reported Friday (…..)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/20/opinion/blow-inside-the-mind-of-a-terror-suspect-in-the-boston-marathon-bombings.html

  8. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: The Boston marathon bombing raises important questions about the 9/11 terrorism model. In this (old) model, only foreigners could be brainwashed to hate the American government and take direct action against the civilian population. This is no longer true. Domestic attacks of the last few years have been carried out by American citizens. The recent Boston attack by the Tsarnaev’s brothers illustrate this mutation of national security threat from overseas to domestic sources.


    This raises many questions and few answers. For example, is domestic terrorism now the imminent and present danger to public safety? What powerful motives are leading young Americans to become alienated from society and killing adults and children to show their frustration? Is there a difference between the Boston episode and Sandy Hook/Newtown killings? If the 9/11 terrorism paradigm has shifted, what happens to civil liberties, freedom and democracy in this new brave world of the enemy within?

    http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/20/updates-on-aftermath-of-boston-marathon-explosions-3/

  9. With one suspect dead and the other captured and lying grievously wounded in a hospital, the investigation into the Boston Marathon bombings turned on Saturday to questions about the men’s motives, and to the significance of an overseas trip one of them took last year. Federal investigators are hurrying to review a visit that one of the suspected bombers made to Chechnya and Dagestan, predominantly Muslim republics in the north Caucasus region of Russia. Both have active militant separatist movements. Members of Congress expressed concern about the F.B.I.’s handling of a request from Russia before the trip to examine the man’s possible links to extremist groups in the region. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died early Friday after a shootout with the police in Watertown, Mass., spent six months in Dagestan in 2012, and analysts said that sojourn might have marked a crucial step in his alleged path toward the bombings. Kevin R. Brock, a former senior F.B.I. and counterterrorism official, said, “It’s a key thread for investigators and the intelligence community to pull on.” The investigators began scrutinizing the events in the months and years before the fatal attack, as Boston began to feel like itself for the first time in nearly a week. On Monday, the twin bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed three people and wounded more than 170. The tense days that followed culminated in Friday’s lockdown of the entire region as the police searched for Mr. Tsarnaev’s younger brother from suburban backyards to an Amtrak train bound for New York City (…..)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/us/boston-marathon-bombings.html

  10. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: Hopefully, all facts will come to light if young Tsarnaev survive his wounds and go to an open trial, not the Guantanamo type. The official narrative of the Boston marathon bombing presents inconsistencies with facts on the ground. If you plan a bomb attack — not one of self immolation — the first thing to do is to plan an exit strategy. You don’t go back to your hood, rob a seven eleven store, do a carjacking and engage cops in a firefight. The word entrapment comes to mind immediately. Terrorists may be crazy but they are not stupid. For people distrustful of government, the Boston bombing has all elements to create another urban legend conspiracy. Just wait for the first book to come up during summer vacations.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/us/boston-marathon-bombings.html

  11. mford: You are completely ignoring the fact that they battled police using pipe bombs and a freaking pressure cooker bomb! I don’t see how they are not the bombers. As to their exit strategy…perhaps it fell apart. Perhaps they were betrayed. Perhaps they really are so arrogant as to think they could get away with it and then do it all over again next week. Perhaps this, perhaps that…”entrapment” seems to be the unlikeliest of all perhaps.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/us/boston-marathon-bombings.html

  12. B.: “Young Tsarnaev” indeed. Old enough to murder three people, including an eight-year-old child, wound a hundred others, lob a bomb at the police . . . . If what happened was “entrapment,” then I wish those brothers were entrapped before they planted those bombs, an act which, by the way, was caught on camera and witnessed first-hand. I don’t doubt that really, really stupid people will be twisting this story to fit a conspiracy theory that features, as always, that awful, awful country, the United States of America, as the grand Satan.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/us/boston-marathon-bombings.html

  13. Vicki: Perhaps they were so angry that they wanted to be caught, that it was worth it to them, that they felt they had nothing to live for. We don’t know.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/us/boston-marathon-bombings.html

  14. sarai: What makes you think they aren’t stupid? Do you have experience as a terrorist? How can assume to know what is going on in someone else’s mind when under this kind of pressure? All I can imagine is that things don’t always go as planned in these kind of circumstances, or even in less egregious ones.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/us/boston-marathon-bombings.html

  15. Leslie Carroll: He never robbed the 7-11. That was misinformation. In the media rush to get a scoop, they pinned the robbery on the Tsarnaev bros. Someone else perpetrated that heist. And there have been witnesses to the carjackings, haven’t there. Several witnesses saw and heard the firefight. The one inventing the conspiracy theories is you.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/us/boston-marathon-bombings.html

  16. Ned: No, actually most criminals, including terrorists, are stupid. Look at all the dopes who get caught in chimneys trying to rob houses. They often become disaffected exactly because they are stupid and can’t make it in the real world. These guys were not geniuses. They got caught because they didn’t think they would be identified. That is almost assuredly the case. It is possible that other evidence will come to light but I doubt it. As far as a government conspiracy, oh please! Look at the facts of what happened.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/us/boston-marathon-bombings.html

  17. Gene Venable: News flash – they didn’t rob a seven eleven. That was a media delusion. They were not involved.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/us/boston-marathon-bombings.html

  18. (…..) Are we capable at this moment of taking on the mantle of nonviolence? The lessons are already there in our history. The civil rights movement is perhaps the most shining example of nonviolence in our human legacy. After 9/11, after Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, and now, in the immediate on-the-ground responses to the Boston bombing, Americans pulled together with those they did not know in order to restore the web of our common existence. We are indeed violent, but we have shown flashes of nonviolence, that is to say moments where our competitive individualism, our insecurity, our desire for the highest return on our investment of time and money, has been trumped by the vividness of the likeness of others. Granted, these are only moments. They have not lasted. But they teach us that when it comes to nonviolent relations with others, we are not entirely bereft. What would it require for these lessons to be become sedimented in our collective soul? There is much work to be done. We must begin to see our fellow human beings as precisely that: fellows. They need not be friends, but they must be counted as worthy of our respect, bearers of dignity in their own right. Those who struggle must no longer be seen as failures, but more often as unlucky, and perhaps worthy of our extending a hand. Those who come to our shores, whatever our policy toward them, must be seen as human beings seeking to stitch together a decent life rather than as mere parasites upon our riches. Those who are unhealthy must be seen as more than drains upon our taxes but instead as peers that, but for good fortune, might have been us. None of this requires that we allow others to abdicate responsibility for their lives. Nor does it require that we refuse, when no other means are available, to defend ourselves with force. Instead it calls upon us to recognize that we, too, have a responsibility to more than our own security and contentment. It commands us to look to ourselves and at others before we start casting stones. Would this end all senseless killing? No, it would not. Would it substitute for the limits on guns that are so urgently needed? Of course not. While the recently rejected limits on guns, however timid, might have provided a first public step toward the recognition of the requirements of our situation, our task would remain: to create a culture where violence is seen not as the first option but as the last, one that would allow us to gaze upon the breadth of space that lies between an unjust act and a violent response. The philosopher Immanuel Kant said that the core of morality lay in treating others not simply as means but also as ends in themselves. Nonviolence teaches us nothing more than this. It is a simple lesson, if difficult to practice — especially so at a moment like this when our rage and grief are still raw. But it is a lesson that has become buried under our ideology and our circumstances. We need to learn it anew. Learning this lesson will not bring back the life of the Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell or the other murdered victims in Boston. It will not return to health those who were injured on that day. It won’t bring back Trayvon Martin or the children of Sandy Hook. But it will, perhaps, point the way toward a future where, instead of recalling yet more victims of violence in anger and with vows of retribution, we find ourselves with fewer victims to recall.

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/is-american-nonviolence-possible/

  19. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: One of the best pieces about violence in America. This is not the first or the last time violence characterizes the State of the Union. The Vietnam era besides sex, drugs and rock and roll was about wanton domestic and overseas violence. This time is not different from the 60s. The question is: can this time society learn the lesson and pursue non violent means to solve domestic and foreign conflicts? Great Britain did it.

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/is-american-nonviolence-possible/

  20. Josh Hill: Yeah, Great Britain was seriously non-violent in World War II. Not to mention the Falklands, both wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., etc. Sorry for being sarcastic, but you’re beginning with a big assumption and no actual history to back it up.

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/is-american-nonviolence-possible/

  21. It is America’s first fully interactive national tragedy of the social media age. The Boston Marathon bombings quickly turned into an Internet mystery that sent a horde of amateur sleuths surging onto the Web in a search for clues to the suspects’ identity. And once the search focused on Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the brothers’ social media postings provided a rich vein of material to mine and sift. There are more than a thousand messages on Dzhokhar’s Twitter account in addition to a profile page on VKontakte, a popular Russian social networking site, and in Tamerlan’s case, a list of favorite videos on YouTube and what appears to be an Amazon wish list belonging to him (Amazon would not confirm whose list it was, citing its privacy policy.) These posts instantly became dots that people began trying to connect. Some details ratified the views of those former friends and neighbors who said they were utterly shocked at the brothers’ possible involvement in such a horrifying crime. Other posts pointed to Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s growing interest in Islamic radicalism and possibly a dark subtext to the friendly, boy-next-door affect of Dzhokhar. At the same time, they were reminders of the complexities of online identity — of the ways in which people strike poses and don masks on the Web (which can sometimes turn into self-fulfilling prophecies), and the ways in which the Web can magnify or accelerate users’ interests and preoccupations (…..)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/24/us/unraveling-brothers-online-lives-link-by-link.html

  22. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: Facebook, YouTube and the social media network is doing something governments and intelligence services only dreamed in the past. People are providing information about themselves, family and friends to the State voluntarily, without any coercion. Social media is the best snitches authorities could get in these turbulent and changing times.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/24/us/unraveling-brothers-online-lives-link-by-link.html

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