Authorities have discovered a slew of bombs addressed to high-profile Democratic politicians and at least one news organization. So far, reports indicate the explosive devices were sent to former secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former president Barack Obama, and Representative Maxine Waters; Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz also had one sent to her, because her office was listed as the return address on a package sent to former attorney general Eric Holder. A pipe bomb was also sent to the CNN offices in Manhattan. The discoveries came only two days after a similar explosive device was found in the mailbox of billionaire philanthropist George Soros.
Two bombs were discovered in mail sent, respectively, to former secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former president Barack Obama, the New York Times reported on Wednesday morning. Shortly after, CNN’s New York City newsroom was evacuated after a suspicious device was found at the Time Warner Center. Law enforcement officials later told the AP they believe the device at CNN is a pipe bomb.
Another device had reportedly been sent to former attorney general Eric Holder, but went to the wrong address. The package was then sent to the return address listed on the envelope: the office of Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose employees were evacuated once the package was discovered, CNN reports. Her office was also reportedly listed as the return address on packages to Clinton and Obama. An additional suspicious package, addressed to Democratic congresswoman Maxine Waters, was intercepted by Capitol Hill police, ABC News reports.
According to the Times, the device sent to Clinton was discovered on Tuesday by a Secret Service employee who screens mail for her in Westchester County, New York. The other device was found on Wednesday in mail sent to Obama’s office in Washington, D.C. Law enforcement officials said that the devices were similar to the one believed to have been placed in Soros’s mailbox.
The news about the suspicious device discovered at the Time Warner Center, where CNN is based, broke shortly after the stories about Clinton and Obama were reported. The package was delivered via courier, and had six first class postage stamps on it, the Times notes. An image of the device was on CNN and on social media:
The New York Police Department’s bomb squad reported to the scene, and video of the NYPD transporting the device appeared on social media.
The device that was sent to CNN was reportedly found in a manila envelope that was addressed to John Brennan, the former Obama-era CIA director and critic of President Donald Trump, the Times reports. Brennan’s security clearance was later revoked by Trump. The return address reportedly had the name of Wasserman Schultz, the former Democratic National Committee chairwoman.
CNN reports that the device was constructed with a pipe and wires, and is being treated as a real explosive. The Times reports that the device was intercepted in CNN’s mail room, and quoted a senior law enforcement official as saying: “Same package. Same device.” CNN’s Brian Stelter tweeted that, in response to the bomb, CNN president Jeff Zucker is establishing new security measures at the headquarters in Atlanta.
Also on Wednesday, CNN initially reported that another suspicious package with a device was addressed to the White House and intercepted at Joint Base Bolling in Washington. However, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters that no such package was found addressed to the White House, and CNN walked back its report. Later, the San Diego Union-Tribune offices were evacuated after a stack of suspicious-looking packages were spotted outside the building. Additionally, New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced his Manhattan office received a suspicious package, but police later said it was not an explosive device — it was reportedly a flash drive that contained files about the far-right group Proud Boys.
Regarding the bombs sent to Clinton and Obama, the Secret Service said in a Wednesday statement to the Times that it “has intercepted two suspicious packages addressed to Secret Service protectees.” The statement continues, “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 statement further reads that the agency “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.”
The device sent to Soros, which was made from the length of a pipe six-inches long filled with explosive powder, was found at his home in a suburb of New York City. An official told the Times that it had been “proactively detonated” by bomb-squad technicians. The motives behind the bomb are unclear, and no one has taken responsibility as of yet.
In a statement on Wednesday morning, the White House said, “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.”
This is a breaking story that will be continually updated as more details become available.