A series of pipe bombs have been sent to several current and former prominent Democratic officials and supporters, including Hillary Clinton, former vice president Joe Biden and former president Barack Obama. None of the devices have exploded and no one has been hurt.
The list of recipients also includes former CIA Director John Brennan, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California and actor Robert De Niro.
The package addressed to Brennan was sent to the news network CNN. CNN’s headquarters in midtown-Manhattan was evacuated yesterday morning when the device was found. All of the packages listed Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida as the return addressee.
It was not immediately clear whether any of the devices were “live” or capable of exploding. The FBI said the devices were similar to one found at the home of George Soros earlier this week. Soros is a billionaire investor who is a vocal supporter of liberal politicians as well as causes. That device was placed in the mailbox at Soros’ home in upstate New York. No one was hurt in that attack.
The recipients of the packages have all been political targets of President Donald Trump. Mr. Trump revoked John Brennan’s security clearance in August after Brennan harshly criticized President Trump’s behavior and rhetoric, for example.
“Mr. Brennan’s lying and recent conduct, characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary, is wholly inconsistent with access to the nation’s most closely held secrets, and facilities [facilitates] the very aim of our adversaries, which is to sow division and chaos,” President Trump wrote in a statement at the time.
The White House condemned the acts in the strongest possible terms yesterday. “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,” a statement issued by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders read.
The President, in remarks from the White House called for unity in the country. “In these times, we have to unify. We have to come together, and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America… This egregious conduct is abhorrent to everything we hold dear and sacred as Americans,” he said.
“We’re extremely angry, upset, unhappy about what we witnessed this morning, and we will get to the bottom of it.”
All of the devices were mailed in manila envelopes which were lined with Bubble Wrap. The mailing labels were printed by computer and six first-class American Flag stamps were attached to each package.
One of the packages had more postage than necessary, leading investigators to believe that the person who sent the package wanted to avoid going to the post office to buy the correct postage in order to evade detection.
The packages sent to Hillary Clinton and President Obama were intercepted by the U.S. Secret Service at offsite mail facilities were mail to former presidents’ homes are screened before being delivered. Clinton’s husband is former President Bill Clinton.
After the Secret Service sent out a bulletin that the packages to the former presidents’ homes had been found, CNN examined their own mailroom and found the package delivered there. That package was hand delivered by courier.
The device sent to Eric Holder was apparently misaddressed and because Wasserman Schultz was listed as the return addressee it was delivered to her district office in Sunrise, Florida. The package sent to Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California was intercepted at a Congressional mail facility according to Waters’ office.
Waters and President Trump have been harshly critical of each other in recent months, with Mr. Trump calling Waters a “low I-Q person” and Waters advocating for Trump’s impeachment.
Critics of the President’s say his repeated attacks on political rivals, as well as the media, are to blame for the attacks.
“I think the president of United States should take responsibility for the kind of violence that we are seeing for the first time in different ways,” Waters said.
The White House has bristled at that suggestion.
“The president is certainly not responsible for sending suspicious packages to someone, no more than Bernie Sanders was responsible for a supporter of his shooting up a Republican baseball field practice last year,” she said, referring to a shooting last year that seriously wounded Congressman Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
“The idea that this is at the hands of the president is absolutely ridiculous,” she added.
The President echoed that sentiment on Twitter.
“A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News,” Trump tweeted this morning. “It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!”
The package sent to De Niro was discovered at the actor’s film and television production company headquarters in New York City this morning. That bomb was removed by the NYPD via a bomb-containment vehicle.
The FBI, Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are engaged in a nationwide investigation trying to determine where components of the devices were purchased. That authorities say, might give clues as to who is responsible for sending them.
Photo by CNN via Twitter