NY Times: US concern grows over Al Qaida poison threat

August 13, 2011 06:19

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.

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