WASHINGTON (AP) — The Secret Service said Thursday that a suspicious letter addressed to President Barack Obama and similar to ricin-laced ones sent to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been intercepted by a White House mail screening facility.
The letter has been turned over to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force for testing and investigation.
It was unclear precisely how the letter, which was intercepted Wednesday by the White House facility, was similar to letters laced with the poison ricin and addressed to Bloomberg. The screening facility is located away from the White House complex.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Thursday that Obama was aware of the letter addressed to him.
Two threatening letters postmarked in Louisiana and containing traces of the deadly poison ricin were sent to Bloomberg in New York and to his gun-control group in Washington, officials said.
The anonymous letters were opened in New York last Friday at the city’s mail facility in Manhattan and in Washington on Sunday at an office used by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the nonprofit started by Bloomberg, police said Wednesday.
Police said preliminary testing indicated the presence of ricin in both letters involving Bloomberg, but that more testing would be done. Police said the threats contained references to the debate on gun laws and an oily pinkish-orange substance.
Last month, authorities in Washington intercepted a letter addressed to Obama that was found after testing to contain ricin. The letter was similar to one mailed to Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, which also tested positive for ricin.
Federal authorities last month arrested a Mississippi man suspected of sending the ricin-laced letters to Obama, Wicker and a Mississippi judge.
Celebrating Barack Obama
28 photos Launch gallery
1. Barack Obama was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
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2. His mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, was an American anthropologist, activist and social scientist born in Kansas in 1942. She passed away in 1995. (Photo: AP)
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3. His father, Barack Obama, Sr. was from Kenya. His parents met while studying at the University of Hawaii and got married on Feb. 2, 1961 and baby Barack was born six months later. (Photo: AP)
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4. His parents eventually separated and divorced when Barack was two. His father returned to Kenya and his mother married a man from Indonesia. They moved to Indonesia a year later. (Photo: AP)
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5. At age 10, Barack was sent to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents. His mom and sister soon followed. (Photo: AP)
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6. Barack attended the esteemed Punahou Academy where he excelled and graduated with academic honors in 1979. (Photo: AP)
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7. He played basketball on one of the best high school teams in Hawaii. His nickname was "O'Bomber" because of his mad skills. (Photo: AP)
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8. After high school, Obama studied at Occidental College in Los Angeles for two years. He then transferred to Columbia University in New York, graduating in 1983 with a degree in political science. (Photo: AP)
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9. Obama moved to Chicago in 1985. There, he worked on the South Side as a community organizer for low-income residents in the Roseland and the Altgeld Gardens communities. (Photo: AP)
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10. Barack visited relatives in Kenya, which included an emotional visit to the graves of his biological father and paternal grandfather. (Photo: AP)
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11. Obama returned from Kenya with a sense of renewal, entering Harvard Law School in 1988.
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12. The next year, he met Michelle Robinson, an associate at the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin. She was assigned to be Obama's adviser during a summer internship at the firm, and not long after, the couple began dating.
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13. Their first kiss took place outside of a Chicago shopping center—where a plaque featuring a photo of the couple kissing was installed more than two decades later, in August 2012. (Photo: AP)
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14. In February 1990, Obama was elected the first African-American editor of the Harvard Law Review. He graduated from Harvard, magna cum laude, in 1991.
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15. After law school, Obama returned to Chicago to practice as a civil rights lawyer, joining the firm of Miner, Barnhill & Galland. He also taught part time at the University of Chicago Law School, first as a lecturer and then as a professor—and helped organize voter registration drives during Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. (Photo: AP)
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16. On October 3, 1992, he and Michelle were married. They moved to Kenwood, on Chicago's South Side. (Photo: AP)
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17. Obama's advocacy work led him to run for a seat in the Illinois State Senate. He ran as a Democrat, and won election in 1996. During these years, Obama worked with both Democrats and Republicans to draft legislation on ethics, and expand health care services and early childhood education programs for the poor. (Photo: AP)
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18. After around six years of marriage, Barack and Michelle welcomed daughter Malia born in 1998 and daughter Sasha born in 2001. (Photo: AP)
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19. November 2 2004, the Obama family is covered in confetti after Obama delivered his acceptance speech. With his win, Barack Obama became only the third African-American elected to the U.S. Senate since the Reconstruction. (Photo: AP)
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20. On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama defeated Republican presidential nominee John McCain, 52.9 percent to 45.7 percent, winning election as the 44th president of the United States—and the first African-American to hold this office. (Photo: AP)
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21. 2008 newly elected President Barack Obama gave his acceptance speech at Grant Park in Chicago and the Obama family takes stage and waves to all his supporters. (Photo: AP)
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22. President Barack Obama's inauguration took place on January 20, 2009. President Obama joined by Michelle, takes the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts to become the 44th president of the United States at the U.S.(Photo: AP)
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23. President Barack Obama and his family and Vice President Joe Biden and his family celebrate their nominations as the confetti falls at the conclusion of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. (AP Photo)
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24. President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden ran for a second term against Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. (Photo: AP)
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25. The president rolled to a second term over Romney, winning more than 300 electoral votes. President Obama told supporters "the best is yet to come." (Photo: AP)
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26. Apparently, our President is holding up rather well by the looks of the two photos, although his hair color is more salt than pepper. (Photo: AP)
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27. His Official portrait for his second term as President of the United States of America.
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28. Here is another photo of then and now of our President. (Photo: EURweb)
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