Barack Obama may just have had a close shave with HIV infection. A news channel had reported that an Ethiopian refugee in Chicago was arrested for threatening to target the President with HIV-infected blood.
According to Fox News, this only the second time ever that HIV-infected blood has been sent with malicious intent through the U.S. mail system, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service said.
AdvertisementThe man reportedly sent Obama and his staff envelopes containing HIV-infected blood, in the hope of killing or harming them.
In the weeks leading up to Obama's inauguration, Saad Hussein, a refugee in his late 20s, sent an envelope addressed to "Barack Obama" to offices of the Illinois government in Springfield, Ill., according to court documents.
The envelope contained a series of curious items, including a letter with reddish stains and an admission ticket for Obama's election-night celebration in Chicago's Grant Park.
Court documents said Hussein, who takes drugs to treat a mental illness, later told FBI agents he is "very sick with HIV" and cut his fingers with a razor so he could bleed on the letter.
Hazmat teams were called in after the envelope was opened, and offices of the Illinois Department on Aging and the Department of Revenue were locked down for nearly two hours, locking 300 staffers in their offices, court documents said.
Hussein, with his brother acting as an interpreter, told FBI agents he was actually "an admirer" of Obama and was "seeking help from the government," according to court documents.
He also told them he was hoping to obtain tickets to the inaugural ceremonies in Washington, the documents said.
Days after sending the letter to Obama, Hussein allegedly placed two more letters in the mail, one addressed to "Emanuel," an apparent reference to Obama's current Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. The two letters contained what appeared to be dried blood, the court documents said.
Hussein, who has never held a job in the three years he's been in the United States, was arrested last month. He was charged with "knowingly" mailing letters "containing HIV-infected blood, with the intent to kill or injure another," in violation of federal law.
A publicly-appointed attorney representing Hussein declined comment, saying he was "not at liberty to discuss pending criminal matters."