With the NSA already combing through and recording every form of electronic communication (or 1.6% of all global internet traffic to be precise), it was only a matter of time before a scare involving plain vanilla physical mail took place. Such as what just happened at JFK airport at 9 am this morning, when as ABC reports (with a substantial delay) that "Two postal inspectors at JFK Airport were sickened Sunday after opening a package at a postal processing facility. Field tests showed an initial finding of nerve gas, though authorities believe it's a low likelihood that it's actually nerve gas. It is more likely a standard-use chemical that shouldn't have been in the mail like a solvent or degreaser. The FBI was called in and additional testing is underway. The condition of the customs agents is not yet known."
Further confirmed information was not available, although the Post reported (so assume a negligible if not zero factual hit rate) that the toxic agent in question was VX, the nerve gas best known from the Connery-Cage movie, The Rock.
The highly lethal nerve agent VX -- used in weapons of mass destruction -- appears to have been discovered in a mail facility at JFK Airport and sickened two US customs agents this morning, a law-enforcement source said.
Both victims suffered respiratory distress and were taken for emergency treatment after being overcome while inside the US Postal Service facility on North Boundary Road at 9:40 a.m., the source said.
Initial testing after the incident revealed the presence of "chemical-grade weapons and nerve gas," and subsequent testing produced a positive reading for VX, the source said.
VX is a synthetic substance that is the most potent of all known nerve agents and can cause death through skin contact or inhalation.
The scene of the incident is a giant facility that processes overseas mail bound for the eastern United States.
The building and a US Customs facility about a quarter-mile away have both been quarantined, but airport operations so far remain unaffected.
The NY Daily News chimes in:
Police are investigating a piece of mail that may contain nerve gas after two customs inspectors were overcome by fumes in a Kennedy Airport postal facility Sunday morning, sources said.
The item tentatively tested positive for VX nerve gas, which can be used as a weapon of mass destruction. More testing is needed to determine if the mail really contains the deadly gas, a law enforcement source said.
The two postal inspectors quickly recovered after becoming ill about 9:30 a.m., the source said.
They did not appear to be suffering from exposure to any chemical weapon.
Port Authority police shut down the facility, where mail is inspected after arriving from overseas, and were continuing to investigate Sunday afternoon.
With the summer doldrums upon us, is this merely another false flag affair to keep the public on its toes ahead of potential military action in numerous Middle East countries? Or is there some "foreigner" - supposedly operating out of Syria with Putin's blessing of course - who is actually airmailing out weaponized nerve gas in "air-tight" envelopes to assorted east coast recipients? The answer, as rhetorical as it may be, will likely be provided shortly.
* * *
Update: as expected, the NY Post's version of reality was a just a tad "off". From Newsday:
Two JFK Airport workers at the facility's postal headquarters were sickened Sunday by what Port Authority police said was a highly toxic cleaning chemical.
The two employees were working in the airport post office, building number 250, when they opened a package containing organophosphate shipped in a package from China, said Port Authority officials.
The chemical is often found in insecticides and industrial-strength chemical cleaning agents as well as deadly nerve gases used in chemical warfare, according to the Center for Disease Control.
Officials said the FBI "out of an abundance of caution" was on the scene to test the workers for the presence of any deadly nerve gases. The two employees were then taken to Franklin General Hospital in Valley Stream for treatment, said an FDNY spokesman.
The package containing the chemical was placed in a 55 gallon drum, Port Authority officials said.