Several suspicious packages have been found around the country targeting Democratic political figures and at least one media organization. The packages, which contain possible explosive devices, were found at the home of billionaire liberal mega-donor George Soros, Barack Obama, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, California Rep. Maxine Waters and CNN’s Manhattan offices. Federal authorities have not yet identified a suspect and are continuing to investigate, but are acting as if the packages are connected.
All of the potential devices were intercepted and none have detonated, but CNN is reporting that the packages contained “rudimentary, but functional,” explosives, with projectiles included in at least one. No injuries have been reported. There were also reports of a device being sent to the White House and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, but the Secret Service denied those reports.
A suspicious package containing a device was also found at a Sunrise, Florida, building where Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former Democratic National Committee chair, has an office, CBS Miami reports. That package was addressed to former Attorney General Eric Holder.
NBC News reports the packages sent to Soros, the Clintons, the Obamas and CNN were all manila in color, have similar or identical components and all have a return address belonging to Wasserman Schultz. According to NBC’s Tom Winter, “There’s no suggestion OBVIOUSLY that Wasserman Schultz sent the packages.” According to CNN, the package sent to Holder was returned to Wasserman Schultz’s Sunrise office because that was the return address on the package. The address for Holder was incorrect. MSNBC shared photos of one of the devices:
The Secret Service is investigating the packages sent to the Clintons and Obamas and said in a statement, “The packages were immediately identified during routine mail screening procedures as potential explosive devices and were appropriately handled as such. The protectees did not receive the packages nor were they at risk of receiving them. The Secret Service has initiated a full scope criminal investigation that will leverage all available federal, state, and local resources to determine the source of the packages and identify those responsible.”
According to CNN, the package delivered to its New York offices was addressed to former CIA director John Brennan, who does not work for the news network. Brennan, who has drawn the ire of President Donald Trump with his criticism of Trump’s administration, is a contributor to NBC News and MSNBC.
The White House issued a statement saying, “We condemn the attempted violent attacks recently made against President Obama, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, and other public figures. These terrorizing acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. The United States Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies are investigating and will take all appropriate actions to protect anyone threatened by these cowards.”
There were also evacuations at office buildings in California that are not believed to be related. A building that houses several offices, including the San Diego Union-Tribune and a field office for Democratic Senator Kamala Harris, was evacuated, but the package was not dangerous. An office that houses KSEE24 and CBS47 news in Fresno was also evacuated, but no device was found. Senator Harris’ office said in a statement, “Our office was evacuated today after suspicious packages were found near the building. The packages were not addressed to the Senator or our office. We are grateful to the San Diego Police Department for their work to swiftly investigate this issue.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office was also evacuated while the NYPD investigated a suspicious package. While Cuomo initially said the package contained an explosive device similar to the ones received in the other incidents, the NYPD has since said that the package contained informational literature on The Proud Boys hate group on a flash drive and was not a threat.
At a press conference, Cuomo said, “We are New Yorkers. We are smart. We are tough. We are resilient and we will not allow these terrorists to change the way we lead our lives.” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the press conference, “What we saw here today was an effort to terrorize, that was clearly an act of terror, attempting to undermine our free press and leaders of this country through acts of violence.”
Here is a list of where the suspicious packages have been confirmed to have been found and details of those incidents:
George Soros’ Bedford, New York, Home
The first explosive device was found Monday, October 22 in the mailbox of the 88-year-old billionaire George Soros in Bedford, New York, according to NBC New York. Police were reviewing surveillance video to determine whether the package, which contained a device similar to a pipe bomb, was delivered to the home or sent through the regular mail, NBC New York reports. An employee at Soros’ home found the package about 3:45 p.m. Monday.
“We are working with our partners at @NewYorkFBI & @WestCtyPolice conducting an investigation at and around a residence in Bedford, NY. There is no threat to public safety, and we have no further comment at this time,” the ATF tweeted.
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, as depicted in the below photograph, 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.”
Hillary & Bill Clinton’s Chappaqua, New York, Home
According to NBC News, another package was found Tuesday in Westchester County, New York, at the Chappaqua home of Hillary and Bill Clinton. The package was intercepted before it was delivered to the Clintons’ home.
Bill Clinton was at home Tuesday in New York, CNN reports. Hillary Clinton was at an event in Florida. While speaking in Florida, Hillary Clinton addressed the incidents, saying, “We are fine thanks to the men and women of the Secret Service who intercepted the package addressed to us long before it made it’s way to our home. Every day we are grateful for their service and commitment…never more than today,” according to ABC News’ Karen Travers. “But it is a troubling time isn’t it? And it’s a time of deep divisions and we have to do everything we can to bring our country together,” Clinton added.
The Obamas’ Home in Washington D.C.
A third device was intercepted by the Secret Service after it was mailed to President Barack Obama in Washington D.C., the agency said in a statement. The package was addressed to the Obama’s home in D.C. It is not known if Obama or any of his family members were at the home on Tuesday. The Obamas have not commented.
Vice President Mike Pence tweeted, “We condemn the attempted attacks against fmr Pres Obama, the Clintons, @CNN & others. These cowardly actions are despicable & have no place in this Country. Grateful for swift response of @SecretService, @FBI & local law enforcement. Those responsible will be brought to justice.” President Donald Trump quotes Pence’s tweet and added, “I agree wholeheartedly!”
A Package Addressed to Eric Holder That Was Sent to Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s Office
A package containing a possible explosive device was addressed to former Obama administration attorney general Eric Holder, but the address was wrong, CNN reports. The return address on the package, like on the others, was a Sunrise, Florida, office operated by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The USPS returned the package to Wasserman Schultz’s office, believing that was the sender. The Broward Sheriff’s Office bomb squad and the Sunrise Police Department were at the scene Wednesday.
Wasserman Schultz said in a statement that her office in Aventura, Florida, was also evacuated as a precaution. She said, “I have been in direct contact with the FBI and other law enforcement officials who are working tirelessly on this investigation and I am grateful for their efforts to keep us safe. … We will not be intimidated by this attempted act of violence. This appalling attack on our democracy must be vigorously prosecuted, and I am deeply disturbed by the ay my name was used. Today, my staff and I will huge each other and our loved ones tightly, and tomorrow get back to work serving the people I was elected to represent.”
Holder has not commented.
John Brennan at CNN’s Offices at the Time Warner Center in New York City
Another package was sent to the CNN offices at the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle in New York City. According to CNN, the package was addressed to former CIA director John Brennan, who is not a CNN employee. The CNN studio and other offices in the building were evacuated and police have pushed people several blocks away from the building, according to CNN. The NYPD bomb squad removed the device from the building in a bomb containment vehicle.
CNN reports that the package was not mailed, but was dropped off by a courier service. The NYPD said an envelope containing white powder was also found as part of the package. Officers swept the building and no other threats were found.
“The package sent to Time Warner Center in New York was addressed to 10 Columbus Circle, according to two law enforcement sources. Both CNN and the Shops at Columbus Circle, a shopping mall, were listed at that address in internet searches,” CNN reports. “A Warner Media executive tells CNN’s Brian Stelter the package was received mid-morning, in the 9 a.m. hour.”
According to CNN, “The device sent to Time Warner Center was constructed with a pipe and wires, according to an NYPD source. Law enforcement authorities are treating the device as a real explosive. The device was discovered in the mailroom of Time Warner Center.” Brian Stelter reports, “The evacuation at Time Warner Center includes WarnerMedia corporate offices and the offices for other Turner channels like TNT. It also includes the mall and the Whole Foods in the basement.”
The building was evacuated while Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto were anchoring a newscast from the Manhattan office. New York-based reporters from the office have been reporting via cell phone from outside their offices while anchors in Washington D.C. lead the coverage of the incident.
A Package Addressed to Rep. Waters Intercepted at a Capitol Heights Mail Processing Facility
A package containing a possible explosive addressed to California Rep. Maxine Waters was intercepted at a Capitol Heights processing facility that handles mail going to the U.S. Capitol offices, according to NBC News. The package was addressed to Waters’ office but did not make it that far.
Waters said in a statement, “I have been informed by U.S. Capitol Police that my Washington, DC office was the target of a suspicious package that has been referred to the FBI. I am appreciative of the law enforcement entities who intercepted the package and are investigating this matter. I unequivocally condemn any and all acts of violence and terror.”
Joe Biden’s Home
Another package was sent to former Vice President Joe Biden’s home, but did not reach its destination, CNN reports.
“This country has to come together. This division, this hatred, this ugliness has to end,” Biden tweeted Wednesday.
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.”
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