Separately, Sen. Carl Levin of Mich., issued a statement saying an aide in his Saginaw, Mich. Office had received a suspicious-looking letter. “The letter was not opened, and the staffer followed the proper protocols for the situation, including alerting the authorities, who are now investigating,” the Michigan Democrat said in a statement.
The discoveries spread concern in the sprawling Capitol complex, and authorities swiftly stepped up their security presence.
In one case, police sealed off a hearing room where Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff, were testifying.
In another, officers advised Sen. Joe Manchin and aides not to board an elevator because suspicious packages had been found on several floors of the Hart Office Building.
“They just told me there’s something suspicious and they’re looking into it,” Manchin said.
The FBI said the letters to Obama and Wicker were undergoing further testing. Preliminary testing can be unreliable, showing false positives for ricin.
Around the Capitol there was an increased police presence Wednesday. Outside, many public garbage cans were emptied and turned on their side. Yet public tours of the building continued as usual.