The FBI says it has launched an investigation into the discovery of sewing needles in four turkey sandwiches on separate Delta Air Lines flights from Amsterdam to the United States.
The objects were discovered in food on planes as they were en route from Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands to Minneapolis, Seattle and two flights to Atlanta, according to Delta spokeswoman Kristin Baur. Two of the needles were found by passengers, she said, at which point Delta told all 18 flights from Amsterdam to stop serving the sandwiches.
The al Qaeda group that built two toner-cartridge bombs in an unsuccessful attempt to blow up planes in October also has contemplated spreading poison on salad bars and buffets at U.S. hotels and restaurants, U.S. officials told CNN Tuesday.
But U.S. officials sought to downplay the threat - first reported by CBS News - saying it was months old, and that it was more in the nature of a discussion of "tactics" than an actual plot. Officials implied the tactic is beyond the capabilities of the terrorist organization, which is based in the Middle East.
The United States has received information the group - al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula - was considering the tactic of placing ricin and cyanide poisons into food supplies, Department of Homeland Security officials confirmed to CNN.