‘Heisenberg’ Here?

An envelope containing a substance that turned out to be the deadly toxin ricin was intercepted in a Senate mail facility before it reached the office of its intended target, Republican Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and FBI Director Robert Mueller briefed senators late in the afternoon Tuesday. According to Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., members were told that the toxic substance was found in a letter and that a suspect was in custody. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who identified Wicker as the intended recipient, said the incident at this point appears to be isolated. (Read more)

Harm Done: A new independent, nonpartisan review released Tuesday concludes it is “indisputable” that the U.S. engaged in torture after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and that the country’s top officials are the ones who bear the responsibility for it. The 577-page study, which was put together by the Constitution Project, took two years to complete. Among the findings was that although every U.S. war has involved brutality, never before has there been “the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.” (Read more)

Immigration Reform Arrives: The bipartisan group of eight senators working on immigration reform finally released its long-awaited legislation Tuesday. Among the bill’s provisions: It would remove the threat of deportation for millions of immigrants who did not enter this country legally, while also providing them a path to citizenship. Undocumented immigrants who arrived before Dec. 31, 2011, and who have stayed in the U.S. continuously since, would be eligible to apply for “provisional” legal status as soon as six months after President Obama signs the legislation into law. However, it would take them much longer—at least a decade—to be granted full U.S. citizenship. The bill also includes additional funding for border security, one of the provisions designed to make it more “palatable to Republicans.” (Read more)

Weapons Jam: The bipartisan gun control plan put together by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., that would expand background checks does not have enough support to pass the Senate, The Washington Post reports. Although an analysis shows a majority of 52 senators supports the amendment, it’s still eight votes shy of the magical number of 60 that’s needed to clear the chamber’s procedural hurdle. Manchin and Toomey are weighing whether to change it to appease some of the Senate holdouts. A vote is not expected until Thursday at the earliest. (Read more)

Terror Talk: A day after a news conference in which he stopped short of calling Monday’s deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon terrorist acts, President Obama shifted directions and declared that the pair of explosions amounted to such. Federal officials Monday had already given that designation to the bomb blasts, which killed three and left at least 175 injured. “Any time bombs are used to target civilians, it is an act of terrorism,” Obama said Tuesday. (Read more)

Beantown Bound: On Thursday, the president will travel to Boston to attend an interfaith service for victims of Monday’s deadly attacks. The Associated Press noted that Obama has visited cities reeling from mass violence four times previously during his presidency, including his last trip to Newtown, Conn., in the aftermath of the gun massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. However, the AP pointed out that all four of the other instances of mass violence were related to shootings. (Read more)

Not Funny: Erik Rush, a conservative columnist and occasional guest on Fox News, caused a stir on Twitter on Monday after a series of incendiary tweets. In the aftermath of the explosions that rocked the Boston Marathon, Rush responded on Twitter by blaming the attacks on Muslims. “Everybody do the National Security Ankle Grab! Let’s bring more Saudis in without screening them! C’mon! #bostonmarathon,” he tweeted. After one person tweeted at him, “Are you ALREADY BLAMING MUSLIMS??” Rush responded, “Yes, they’re evil. Let’s kill them all.” He later tried to pass off the suggestion of genocide as a joke, and eventually deleted the tweet. Rush then began sounding off against those who took issue with the tweet, calling them variations of “Islamist apologists.” (Read more)

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