Incident Summary:

11/12/2003: A letter, laced with ricin, was intercepted in a sorting office before it was to be delivered to the White House. Authorities safely disposed of the ricin without incident, but did not disclose the potential attack to the public for three months. The government claims that they did not make the incident public because the ricin posed no "public health risk." The letter containing the substance was signed by "Fallen Angel" the same author of a similar ricin-laced letter intercepted in October. Both letters complained about pending federal trucking regulations.



United States

North America

region/u.s. state:

District of Columbia


Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Unarmed Assault
Successful Attack? (more) No
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Government (General)
Name of Entity Executive Branch
Specific Description The White House
Nationality of Target United States
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage No
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Weapon Details
Ricin was sent through the mail in a package.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Additional Information Similar ricin laced letters were sent to the department of transportation and to the offices of senate majority leader Bill Frist. The FBI is offering a 100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the letter sender. Over 40 police and government staff were quarantined although none were harmed by the letters (cf. 200310150001 and 200402020010)
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Unknown Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Letter)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 1
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 0 Fatalities / 0 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 0
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 0
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
James Gordon Meek, "Authorities caught ricin-laced letter to White House in November," The New York Daily News, February 4, 2004.
Toni Locy and Kevin Johnson, "Feds didn't report ricin for 5 days," USA Today, February 5, 2004.