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Defense Intelligence Agency Probes Possible Toxin on Base

A “potentially harmful substance” found in mail at a Washington military base is under investigation, the Defense Intelligence Agency said.

The agency said the substance was found today “during routine screening of incoming mail” at Bolling Air Force Base.

“Tests by experts called in to assist indicate possible biological toxins,” the Pentagon agency, which is based at Bolling, said in an e-mailed statement. “Prudent screening methods and force protection measures were implemented to prevent personnel from being harmed. DIA has maintained normal operations, and will not comment further on this event until an investigation is complete.”

Army Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Veale, a spokesman for the agency, declined to comment on whether the possible toxin may be ricin, a deadly poison made from castor beans. A granular substance that tested positive for ricin was found last week in letters sent to President Barack Obama and Republican Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi.

Paul Kevin Curtis, a Mississippi man who was charged in that case, has been released from jail, according to Philip Halbert Neilson, one of his lawyers. Another lawyer for Curtis argued at a hearing in federal court in Oxford, Mississippi, that the government lacked evidence linking him to ricin.

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