U.S. Monitoring Al-Qaida Ricin Poison Plot

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 (UPI) — U.S. intelligence agencies are monitoring an al-Qaida operation in Yemen involving deadly ricin-laden bombs, The New York Times said Saturday.

The report said the plot was uncovered more than a year ago that indicates al-Qaida operatives have been collecting castor beans – the base of the deadly and rapid poison – and planning its dispersion with small bombs in the United States.

The Times said President Barack Obama was briefed on the threat a year ago. Little has been publicized because the ricin plot is riddled with problems, the report said.

Foremost is Yemen’s hot and arid climate that renders the poison useless while being transported.

Ricin is a neurotoxin the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says can cause death from inhalation or ingesting with as little exposure as a grain of salt.

The U.S. Center for Defense Information group in Washington says on its Web site ricin is the third most toxic substance known after plutonium and botulism.

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