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Entries in Letters (5)

Thursday
Apr182013

Ricin Letter Suspect Identified Using Earlier Letters

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(CORINTH, Miss.) -- Investigators trying to determine who sent ricin-tainted letters to President Obama and other officials quickly traced the messages and signature of the letter to Paul Kevin Curtis, an Elvis impersonator who had written to officials in the past and consistently signed his letters "I am KC and I approve this message," according to an FBI affidavit.

Curtis, 45, was arrested at his home in Corinth, Miss., just a day after a letter laced with the poison arrived at the office of Republican Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi. A second letter was sent to President Obama and a third letter was mailed to Sadie Holland, a justice of the peace in Lee County, Miss.

Curtis was formally charged on Thursday with sending mail that contained a threat to kill or harm the president and with sending mail containing a threat to injure the president.

He was arraigned in federal court in Oxford, Miss., where he arrived in court wearing shackles and a Johnny Cash T-shirt.

Court affidavits claimed that investigators quickly matched the verbiage used in the ricin tainted letters to Curtis' online posting and previous letters to government officials.

Investigators particularly focused in on the signature, "I am KC and I approve this message," and his mention of "Missing Pieces."

According to the affidavit, the letter sent to Wicker and Obama read:

No one wanted to listen to me before.
There are still 'Missing Pieces'
Maybe I have your attention now
Even if that means someone must die.
This must stop.
To see a wrong and not expose it,
Is to become a silent partner to its continuance
I am KC and I approve this message

The FBI asked Wicker's office to see if they had any prior correspondences with constituents who had the initials "KC," which revealed multiple letters previously sent by Curtis to Wicker's office, according to the affidavit. All of the letters ended with a variation of the same signature, according to court documents filed Thursday.

Curtis also frequently wrote about an alleged black market for the illegal sale of human body parts, which he believed the government was covering up, the affidavit states. He wrote about the allegations in an unpublished novel called Missing Pieces, which he discussed on his Facebook page and in the letters to government officials, according to the FBI.

Curtis had previously written an e-mail to Congressman Alan Nunnelle of Mississippi in which he also mentioned "Missing Pieces."

The ricin letters and Curtis' Facebook page contain identical refrains: "To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance."

Wicker acknowledged Thursday that in addition to the letters Curtis had sent him, the two had met once. Wicker hired Curtis, an Elvis impersonator and entertainer, to perform at a party Wicker threw, he told reporters in Washington.

Curtis made a living impersonating music stars and putting on shows. He dressed up as Elvis, Hank Williams, Jr., and Prince, according to his Facebook profile and YouTube videos.

"I have worked tirelessly to perfect an art form & unique show for all ages with ...authentic costumes songs, gimmicks & props," he wrote on his Facebook page, noting that he had developed a Tribute to the Stars show featuring Elvis, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, and others.

"Complete with authentic Costumes, lights, lasers, Strobes & plenty of audience interaction!" he wrote.

Curtis believed in cover-ups, according to his ex-wife who reported him to police in 2007 for being "extremely delusional, anti-government, and (for feeling) the government was spying on him with drones," according to the affidavit.

He wrote on his Facebook profile that if the federal government were "using or monitoring/using this website or any of its associated websites, (they) do NOT have permission."

After two bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, Curtis addressed the crime on his Facebook page.

"This world is not what it used to be and the hopes of all are not what they 'USED' to be. We have let God down. We removed prayer from schools in 62....we have staged wars simply for profits in oil and drugs....we have lied our way from the capitol to the pulpit. We the people should be ashamed. I weep for the future of our children. God bless."

Curtis's family did not return messages left seeking comment. His brother said in a written statement Wednesday that the family had "no reason to believe Kevin would be involved," but that they knew "very little" about the case.

"Until my family gets some answers and we have a chance to talk to my brother, I can't comment further," Jack Curtis wrote.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
May072012

New Hampshire Man Writes Letter a Day to Mom for 30 Years

Eileen Bach/Thinkstock(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- There’s no doubt that Mike Geraci loves his mother. He’s been showing her how much by writing her a letter a day — and sending it by snail mail — for the last 30 years.

Eleven thousand letters later, the software engineer from Portsmouth, N.H., has no plans to slow down.

“You should appreciate the ones you love and show your appreciation because you never know. One day they might not be there,” Geraci said in an interview with ABC’s New Hampshire affiliate, WMUR.

His mother, Gloria Britt, is appreciative, but says, “I could never do that, sit down and write every day. He’s lucky to get a letter from me once a year.”

Geraci told WMUR that he started the practice in 1981. He was 19-years-old, and was just starting out in his career in California when he got word that his mother had been in a horrible car accident. He couldn’t be by her side, so he wrote to her every day through her recovery and rehabilitation and just never stopped.

Every 1,000th letter is either framed or in the form of a plaque. Geraci said he once considered writing his mom on email, but decided to continue his daily communication the old-fashioned way.

“I have no plans of stopping, ever. I’m here to stay. The letter-writing will continue on,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May032012

Osama Bin Laden Letters: Kill Obama to Make Biden President

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Osama bin Laden asked that Al Qaeda create hit squads to kill President Obama and General David Petraeus, but that Vice President Biden be spared because Biden is "totally unprepared for the presidency" and making him president by killing Obama would "lead the U.S. into a crisis."

In a 45-page letter to a newly promoted al Qaeda lieutenant in May 2010, part of a trove of documents found in bin Laden's Pakistan compound that were placed online Thursday by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, bin Laden tells him he had asked his predecessor to put together two teams in Pakistan and Afghanistan to target Petraeus and Obama during their visits.

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"They are not to target visits by U.S. Vice President Biden, Secretary of Defense Gates, Joints Chiefs of Staff [Chairman] Mullen, or the Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Holbrooke," wrote bin Laden. "The groups will remain on the lookout for Obama or Petraeus."

"The reason for concentrating on them is that Obama is the head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make Biden take over the presidency for the remainder of the term, as it is the norm over there. Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the U.S. into a crisis."

"As for Petraeus, he is the man of the hour in this last year of the war, and killing him would later the war's path."

Much of the rest of the letter, one of 17 documents released today, is devoted to Osama's micromanagement of al Qaeda affairs, and his regrets that al Qaeda has lost the affection of Muslims because its regional affiliates had killed so many Muslim civilians.

According to bin Laden, 9/11 and the subsequent U.S. invasion of Afghanistan "filled Muslims with sympathy toward their fellow Mujahidin." But "after the war expanded and the Mujahidin spread out into many regions, some of the brothers became totally absorbed in fighting out local enemies, and more mistakes have been made."

"Clear boundaries need to be established so that no Muslims fall victim except when it is absolutely necessary," wrote bin Laden.

He also expresses his desire for al Qaeda leaders to leave the Pakistani border region to escape U.S. drone attacks.

"I had mentioned in several previous messages," wrote bin Laden, "the importance of the exit from Waziristan of the brother leaders, especially the ones that have media exposure. I stress this matter to you and they you choose distant locations to which to move them, away from aircraft photography and bombardment, while taking all security precautions."

According to an analysis of the documents by the Center for Combating Terrorism, the late terror leader was frustrated at his own inability to control the violent jihadi movement he helped create, especially when it came to regional affiliates of al Qaeda.

Bin Laden was angry at his "seeming inability to exercise control" over regional actors whose attacks often claimed Muslim lives, according to the Center, which bin Laden believed hurt the reputation of al Qaeda in the Muslim world. The Center recently posted the original Arabic-language notes on its website.

"Rather than a source of strength, bin Laden was burdened by what he viewed as the incompetence of the 'affiliates,' including their lack of political acumen to win public support, their media campaigns and their poorly planned operations which resulted in the unnecessary deaths of thousands of Muslims," the CTC's analysis says. "He was at pains advising them to abort domestic attacks and… instead focus on the United States, 'our desired goal.'"

American officials have repeatedly said that the core of al Qaeda, formerly led by bin Laden and now headed by his old deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, has been considerably weakened in recent years, highlighted by the death of bin Laden himself at the hands of U.S. Navy SEALs last May. But National Intelligence Director James Clapper said as recently as this January that the terror organization's affiliates, most prominently in Yemen and Somalia, have emerged as some of the greatest threats to the American homeland.

According to the CTC, before bin Laden's death, the senior leadership in al Qaeda was split on how to deal with affiliates. Some wanted to distance themselves completely from any group that acted in al Qaeda's name without first consulting them. Another side believed it was important to include the affiliates into al Qaeda's cause regardless of some of their more questionable operational choices. Bin Laden himself, the CTC says, made up a third party: the one who simply wanted to keep the communication lines open so he could urge restraint, "without granting formal unity with al Qaeda."

Zawahiri appears to have ignored bin Laden's concerns once he took the reins of al Qaeda, as he was the one to formally announce an alliance between core al Qaeda and the domestically-violent Somalia-based terrorist organization al-Shabaab.

The documents also show direct communications between bin Laden and several top terror suspects, including American-born Adam Gadahn and the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, the CTC said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul072011

Casey Anthony Writes About Wanting More Babies, Authoring a Book

Red Huber-Pool/Getty Images(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- As the nation awaits her sentencing Thursday morning, which could set her free for the first time in nearly three years, a look back at Casey Anthony's jailhouse letters shows that the 25-year-old may want to have more children upon her release.

"I had a dream not too long ago that I was pregnant," wrote Casey Anthony in one of more than 50 letters she sent to fellow inmate Robyn Adams between 2008 and 2009 when the two were housed in the Orlando County Jail in Florida.

"It was like having Cays all over again," she wrote, referring to her dead daughter, Caylee.  "I've thought about adopting, which even sounds weird to me saying it, but there are so many children that deserve to be loved."

The letters were released in April 2010 by prosecutors preparing for Casey Anthony's trial.  In more than 250 handwritten pages, Anthony discusses life behind bars, what she misses most about her old life and what she hopes to do when she's released.

Anthony was found not guilty Tuesday of murdering her daughter Caylee and could be released as early as Thursday depending on her sentencing on four guilty counts of giving false information to law enforcement.

In one undated letter, Anthony writes to Adams, "Let's make a deal ? let's get pregnant together ? if it's really possible to plan it."

In another letter, she refers to a book she has dreams of writing, describing it as a "partial memoir/comedy/relationship advice book for those not in the know."

"It's a way to settle many rumors and to share my insight about love, life and most important -- God," she wrote.  "Who knows."

Casey Anthony also makes a reference to starting her own business, though she never specifies what kind, writing to Adams, "When are we going to sit on the beach, drinking cocktails and planning our future business?"

Sentencing on the four guilty counts is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. ET on Thursday.  The maximum sentence applicable is four years, but having already served two-and-a-half years behind bars, Anthony stands to serve one-and-a-half years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May052011

FBI Investigating White Powder Letters Sent to Washington, D.C., Schools 

Stockbyte/Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Suspicious letters containing white powder were sent Thursday to at least 20 public schools in Washington, D.C., triggering an investigation by the FBI and the Washington Fire Department.

"We've got 10 locations that we've responded to. We are in the process of collecting the letters. They'll be taking them to a certified state lab for testing," said Andrew Ames, spokesman for the FBI Washington Field Office.

At least four of the 10 schools that received the letters have been cleared. Elementary, middle and high schools throughout the district received the letters.

The first letter was reported at Terrell Elementary School Thursday afternoon.

Law enforcement sources told ABC Affiliate WJLA that all of the letters appeared to contain the same contents. Some were sent from Texas, WJLA reported.

The envelope sent to the School Without Walls stated "al quaida, fbi, usa" and was from North Dallas, Texas, WJLA reported.

None of the letters tested so far have been hazardous, Ames said. No one has reported any illness or injury.

The four schools that have been cleared are M.C. Terrell/McGogney Elementary School, Brown Middle School, Powell Elementary School and Martin Luther King Elementary School.

It's unclear if any schools were evacuated. Calls to D.C. Public Schools were not returned.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 







ABC News Radio