Federal Marshals Review Security in Wake of Ricin Mailings to Obama, Senator


Federal marshals review security in wake of ricin mailings to Obama, senator
By Brendan Kirby | bkirby@al.com
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on April 17, 2013 at 5:15 PM, updated April 18, 2013 at 9:06 AM
A U.S. Capitol Police HAZMAT vehicle is parked at a mail processing facility for congressional mail in Prince George’s County, where a letter addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., tested positive for ricin, Tuesday, April 16, 2013, in Hyattsville, Maryland. Officials from the U.S. Marshals Service in Mobile, Alabama, said they are monitoring security at the federal courthouse in Mobile, Alabama. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

MOBILE, Alabama – Officials from the U.S. Marshals Service today reviewed security procedures as they monitored news of letters containing a toxic substance sent to top government officials.

Federal authorities said they intercepted letters addressed to President Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss. and containing ricin.

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, also received a suspicious package.

Ed Eversman, the supervisor of the Mobile office of the Marshals Service, said the agency is keeping an eye on those developments, as well as the bombing of Monday’s Boston Marathon. He said the agency, which has responsibility for the safety of the courthouse, does not discuss specific security measures.

“If there’s a threat going on somewhere else, it affects everyone throughout the country,” he said. “We take notice of anything that is going on throughout the country.”

Like mail sent to congressional offices, Eversman said correspondence sent to the federal courthouse in Mobile undergoes screening before it reaches its intended recipients.

“All mail is thoroughly checked and scanned,” he said. “We have the means to sanitize it and respond.”

On the courthouse side of Mobile Government Plaza today, there was no obvious sign of increased security. Courthouse police officers were monitoring a metal detector and X-ray machine as always.

A spokesman for the courthouse police did not return phone calls seeking additional information.