The matter came to light in unspecified classified intelligence reports where it stated that the al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen was involved in production of this lethal poison and was acquiring huge quantities of castor beans that is required to make ricin. There are intelligence reports that seem to suggest that the operatives were trying to move the beans along with the processing agents to a hideaway in Shabwa Province.
US military commanders have been raising alarm at the power vaccum in Yemen that has become a breeding ground for terrorists and jihadists thereby creating a major foothold in Yemen. A Yemeni official had announced the death of four suspected al Qaeda members in an army cross fire outside the southern Yemeni city of Zinjibar. This area is under the predominant control of Islamist militants.
There has been enough proof that the al Qaeda operatives in Yemen was involved in the mass production of this poison and later pack them around small explosives. They will then be exploded in contained spaces like a shopping mall, an airport or a subway station, the report stated. This will ensure maximum casualties and damage.
Ricin is so fatal that a minuscule amount can kill one instantly if inhaled or if it enters the blood stream. The Times reported that the US President Barack Obama and hid top security personnel were aware of the threat and were briefed periodically since last year. Meanwhile, senior US counter terrorism officials refuted any ricin attack threat in the near future.
The reason for the counter terrorism officials rubbishing the impact of the threat is because they consider that ricin's impact as a weapon is limited since the substance loses its potency in dry, sunny conditions that prevails in Yemen. It also states that compared to many other nerve agents, ricin is not easily absorbed through the skin.