NY Times: US concern grows over Al Qaida poison threat

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration isconcerned that a dangerous regional arm of al Qaida is tryingto produce the deadly poison ricin to use in attacks againstthe United States, the New York Times reported on Friday.

Citing unnamed intelligence officials and classifiedintelligence reports, the newspaper said al Qaida's affiliatein Yemen has been trying to acquire large quantities of castorbeans, used to produce ricin.

It said the apparent intent was to pack the poison aroundsmall explosives that could be exploded to disperse the ricin,a white powdery substance so deadly that a speck can kill ifinhaled or taken into the bloodstream.

President Barack Obama and top security aides were briefedabout the threat last year, the report said, and have receivedupdates since then but added that senior American officialssaid there was no indication an attack was imminent.

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