“After Ricin Scare, FBI Polygraphs Postal Workers”

Tim Smith reports for the Greenville Times. Excerpt:

The FBI has begun polygraphing Greenville postal workers and truck drivers as the investigation into who delivered a package containing the deadly poison ricin to a Greenville mail facility moves into the third week, the president of the local postal workers union said Thursday.

Dennis Zimmerman, president of Local 168 of the American Postal Workers Union, said the polygraph tests began Wednesday at the Greenville Spartanburg International Airport’s mail center off Pelham Road, where the poison was found.

He said his union has concerns over whether postal officials properly protected workers when the poison was discovered and may file a grievance.

The polygraph testing has included at least one truck driver, Zimmerman said, who he said became upset during the test and ripped off his attachments.

Tom O’Neill, the spokesman for the FBI’s South Carolina headquarters, declined to comment on Zimmerman’s statements, saying FBI agents cannot discuss an active investigation.

Postal officials could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The union president, who works at a downtown branch, said he has talked with workers at the airport facility about the testing. Zimmerman said workers have complained of stress from the polygraphs. He said at least two workers have complained about questions in the tests concerning their home life.

The union president said while the tests are supposed to be voluntary, workers feel pressure to take them.

“People who opt out are being questioned as if they have something to hide,” Zimmerman said. He said one worker has seen a doctor about his stress and is now on medication.

“We’re telling our people if you don’t care to participate in that, don’t do it but they are feeling a lot of pressure to do it,” he said. “It seems ironic and almost cruel that the people who had their lives threatened are now being intimidated by the government forces.”

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