The pipe bomb sent to CNN’s Manhattan office and addressed to former CIA director John Brennan had a sticker on it featuring a parody ISIS flag. The bomb was one of at least six suspicious packages sent to prominent Democratic figures and CNN this week.
A photo of the explosive device was obtained by CNN and other media outlets from law enforcement sources. Many on Twitter spotted what appeared to be an ISIS flag, but, after further inspection, it was revealed it to be a parody of the terror group’s flag featuring comedian Larry the Cable Guy’s catchphrase, “get er done,” and silhouettes of nude women. The flag has been shared previously online as an anti-ISIS meme, often on right-wing websites.
A photo of someone’s face is also on the bomb, but it is not clear who that person is. NBC News confirmed with a senior law enforcement source that the image on the bomb is the ISIS meme, not the actual flag used by the terror organization.
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes tweeted Wednesday night, “So apparently the sticker on the bombs said “Git Er Done” in a faux ISIS font with silhouetted mudflap ladies? What the hell.”
The apparent ISIS flag was noticed quickly on social media, and many assumed it was an actual ISIS flag.
On Hayes’ show, MSNBC correspondent Jonathan Dienst said, “It appeared at first, ‘oh that looks like an ISIS flag, an ISIS terror symbol attached to that.’ Upon closer examination, and we spoke to law enforcement sources who confirmed it, it contains the phrase ‘get er done,’ which is made famous from the ‘Cable Guy’ show. … It’s almost like I’m making a mockery of the ISIS flag. It also contains symbols of women. Which also raises the question, are these devices in fact real. They certainly contain all the components necessary for a bomb. … They’re going to examine if they were actually operational.”
The fake ISIS flag featuring the “get er done” phrase dates back to at least 2014, when it was featured on a parody news sites, like Politnation on a story titled “ISIS Threatens Revenge for Counterfeit Flags.” It also appeared on the site World News Bureau, which is run by a man who uses the name Scooter Van Neuter, according to NBC News. Van Neuter, who claims to be from Arizona, “is a frequent commenter on right-wing websites like Breitbart and The Daily Caller, and his account was permanently suspended from Twitter in 2017,” according to NBC.
On Twitter, Larry the Cable Guy addressed his catchphrase being used. “Ha. So stupid. For one it’s spelled wrong. Also who’s the source let’s see the picture. You can’t tell what it says,” he wrote in one tweet. In another he said, “So stupid these people. You can’t tell what it says. It’s not even spelled right.”
At least five, possibly six, explosive devices were discovered on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, according to federal authorities. The devices were sent to billionaire Democratic mega-donor George Soros, the Clintons, the Obamas, former CIA director John Brennan and former attorney general Eric Holder.
The device addressed to Brennan was sent to CNN’s offices at the Time Warner Center in New York City. Brennan works as an analyst for MSNBC, but has appeared on CNN as a guest. The device sent to Holder was found at the Sunrise, Florida, office of Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Her address was used as the return address on all five devices confirmed by the FBI, and the address used for Holder was not correct, so the package was returned to her office.
A possible sixth device was intercepted at a Congressional mail sorting facility and was addressed to Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California. The FBI has not confirmed that the suspicious package contained a device.
The FBI said all of the packages are being sent to the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, for analysis.
“This investigation is of the highest priority for the FBI. We have committed the full strength of the FBI’s resources and, together with our partners on our Joint Terrorism Task Forces, we will continue to work to identify and arrest whoever is responsible for sending these packages,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement. “We ask anyone who may have information to contact the FBI. Do not hesitate to call; no piece of information is too small to help us in this investigation.”
The FBI said, “The packages are similar in appearance … and contain potentially destructive devices. The packages were mailed in manila envelopes with bubble wrap interior. The packages were affixed with computer-printed address labels and six Forever stamps. All packages had a return address of “DEBBIE WASSERMAN SHULTZ” [sic] in Florida.”
The FBI said in a statement it, “will continue to work with our federal law enforcement partners at the United States Secret Service, United States Postal Inspection Service, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as our state and local law enforcement partners, to identify and arrest the person or people responsible for sending these packages. It is possible that additional packages were mailed to other locations. The FBI advises the public to remain vigilant and not touch, move or handle any suspicious or unknown packages.”
The FBI added, “If you have information about these packages, please contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or tips.fbi.gov. If you observe any suspicious activity that requires an immediate response, please call 911 or contact your local law enforcement.”