WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is
concerned that a dangerous regional arm of al Qaida is trying
to produce the deadly poison ricin to use in attacks against
the United States, the New York Times reported on Friday.
Citing unnamed intelligence officials and classified
intelligence reports, the newspaper said al Qaida's affiliate
in Yemen has been trying to acquire large quantities of castor
beans, used to produce ricin.
It said the apparent intent was to pack the poison around
small explosives that could be exploded to disperse the ricin,
a white powdery substance so deadly that a speck can kill if
inhaled or taken into the bloodstream.
President Barack Obama and top security aides were briefed
about the threat last year, the report said, and have received
updates since then but added that senior American officials
said there was no indication an attack was imminent.