FBI ricin case collapses

Posted in Ricin Kooks at 9:47 am by George Smith

In case you needed any more proof the war on terror has screwed up in this country beyond all recognition, this just in from the AP:

From the wire:

OXFORD, Miss. — Marshals Service: Suspect in ricin letters case has been released from jail in Miss.

A kook, but not the ricin kook, apparently.

In one stroke, the FBI has replayed on a smaller scale the anthrax catastrophe with Steven Hatfill, the infamous “person of interest” before the suicide of Bruce Ivins.

It unfolded slowly, with Monday’s news revealing that the FBI had failed to find any castor seeds, “ricin-making materials” or internet recipes at the home of Paul Kevin Curtis.

It is a serious blow to the agency, a public relations and image nightmare, throwing into question everything it has done.

What’s with the ricin determinations on the letters? Are they actually reliable? Why was ricin reported in the letters? Why? Why? Why? Who has f—– up so royally?

In the past twelve years, the American government has always recovered castor seeds, castor powder or ricin recipes from those accused of “making ricin.”

The FBI would have had to know, very quickly after arresting Paul Kevin Curtis, that it had a serious problem developing when it found none of these, not even traces, in his possession.

What pressure was on the agency to make a quick arrest because of the national terrorism hysteria over the Boston marathon bombing?

“[Paul Kevin Curtis’] lawyer said in court that someone may have framed Curtis, suggesting that a former co-worker with whom Curtis had an extended exchange of angry emails may have set him up,” reads one emerging report from the newswire.

Updated: Transcribed court proceeding from Kevin Paul Curtis hearing.
Material included — mental history, former brushes with law, restraining order, assessment of material in letter (crude, made by throwing castor seeds in a blender), names of others, one of whom became another FBI target today.

That material is here.


  1. Dave Latchaw said,

    April 23, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    A larger-than-life guy like KC should have a mortal enemy.

  2. George Smith said,

    April 23, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    He does, apparently. That’s who the FBI was giving the going over to today. See the attached update link to transcribed notes from the hearing,

  3. George Smith said,

    April 23, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    And this just in, from the AP:

    Charges were dropped Tuesday against the Mississippi man accused of sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and others, while authorities searched at another man’s home in connection with the case.

    The surprising move was announced in a brief document filed in federal court in Oxford hours after Paul Kevin Curtis was released from custody. The document says the ongoing investigation has revealed new but unspecified information.

  4. Dave Latchaw said,

    April 23, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Mr. Dutschke seems like he would make a good mortal enemy for Kevin, but I think he probably had about as much to do with castor bean mush on those letters as KC did.

  5. George Smith said,

    April 23, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    The entire chain of events has gone far into the bizarre.

  6. Chuck said,

    April 24, 2013 at 9:45 am

    So why doesn’t the FBI lab admit that its equipment really doesn’t detect the absolute presence of ricin? Ultimately, they’ll have to admit that they’ve been taken for a ride if one of their ricin cases ever goes to court with the right defense lawyer.

    Maybe one of them there Sniffex detectors can be modified to do the job…

  7. Mike Ozanne said,

    April 24, 2013 at 10:07 am

    I’m sure that the Fed’s missed the skin absorbed weaponised Ricin because it was hidden inside a can of Red Mercury….

    Jeez, I thought our plod were crap! Is there some kind of international race to the bottom in progress?…

  8. George Smith said,

    April 25, 2013 at 7:36 am

    Well, in this case they did reliably detect ricin. Of that I am sure and I’ll post a little more on it today. They analyzed it thoroughly enough to determine the quality too, the equivalent of tossing castor seeds into a blender. That’s good work.

    The problem was the premature arrest. I’m not aware of any ricin cases where they didn’t recover recipes, powder, or castor seeds in searches, so that was an immediate problem.

    It does not exclude the person from attention. You’ll remember the anthrax case. They could never place anthrax on Bruce Ivins, either, just his work in the heart of the vaccine research lab on the mother source and reports, after the fact, that he had gone to a lot of trouble cleaning up -unreported- anthrax contaminations and spills, information which had been compiled by the army.

    We can speculate there was immediate pressure to make an arrest, perhaps too much, and that it had something to do with the hysteria over the Boston bombing. And that cooler heads did not prevail because there was no pressing threat with the ricin — it couldn’t do anything. All the trash in the press about it being a hazard if inhaled was disingenuous.

    Pure ricin is toxic if inhaled but that’s not even close to what was being dealt with. Castor powder is just something to be rinsed off the hands and you continue with your day.

    Unless, of course, you want to get freaked out. Which is the environment we’ve created.