‘AN EFFORT TO TERRORIZE’
Bombs mailed to Democrats
Police are on the hunt for a serial bomber after suspicious packages were sent to leading Democrats including former president Barack Obama and ex-secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
The basic explosive devices described as “pipe bombs” were also sent to the New York headquarters of broadcaster CNN. Other suspicious packages were sent to the offices of political figures in Florida and Washington.
It follows the discovery of a similar device at the New York state residence of George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist and prominent donor to liberal causes, on Monday.
Investigators do not know if an individual or a group of people are behind the campaign which has been dubbed “an act of terrorism.”
U.S. President Donald Trump issued a call for unity as he condemned the “despicable acts” and said the “full weights of our government” were being deployed to find those responsible.
“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,” he said. “We are extremely angry, upset, unhappy about what we witnessed this morning and we will get to the bottom of it.”
The attempted attacks on left-leaning figures come just two weeks before the U.S. midterm elections.
The package addressed to Hillary and Bill Clinton in Westchester County, N.Y., was found on Tuesday. On Wednesday, a similar device was found addressed to Barack and Michelle Obama in Washington, D.C.
The U.S. Secret Service said officers had detected the suspect devices during routine screening of mail and before they reached their targets.
A third “live explosive device” sent to CNN’s New York newsroom was addressed to John Brennan, the former CIA director, officials said.
SUSPECT SOUGHT AS ‘SOPHISTICATED’ DEVICES MAILED TO OBAMAS, CLINTONS, CNN NEWSROOM
Officials have said the devices sent to Obama, Clinton and CNN appeared to be the work of the same individual. John Miller, the New York police deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism, said his office was notified by the Secret Service that the packages sent to Clinton and Obama were “nearly identical.”
“The devices have been what appear to be pipe bombs,” he said.
An official familiar with the investigation into the bombs described the devices as “sophisticated, not amateur.” The official also said it was too soon to know if the devices were linked to a specific group or organization, “but you can be sure that there has been a real threat, given all the measures that were taken.”
The packages arrived in manila envelopes affixed with lots of stamps, some bearing the American flag. Inside was a crude pipe bomb wrapped in black tape, with wires sprouting from each end.
All of the envelopes listed Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz as the return address. The FBI also said it was responding to a report of a suspicious package at one of Schultz’s offices in Florida.
She is the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee who was accused by Clinton rivals of secretly boosting the former secretary of state to the party’s 2016 presidential nomination.
Rep. Maxine Waters said her Washington office was also the target of a suspicious package. It was not immediately clear if that package was related to the other devices.
The outspoken Democrat is frequently criticized by Trump. He has called her “an extremely low IQ person” and has pegged her level of intellect as “somewhere in the mid-60s,” which is considered the range for a mental disability. She has called him “the poster boy for what a mob protester looks like.”
Following the discovery, Hillary Clinton said, “It is a troubling time. It is a time of deep divisions. We have to do everything we can to bring our country together.”
Bill De Blasio, the New York mayor, said, “What we saw here today was an effort to terrorize. This clearly is an act of terror attempting to undermine our free press and leaders of this country through acts of violence.
“I want to make clear that the people of New York City will not be intimidated.
“You cannot be terrorized if you refuse to allow the terrorists to win. People of this city have shown time and again that they stand up to attempts to intimidate.”
“This investigation is of the highest priority for the FBI,” Christopher Wray, the FBI director, said in a statement. “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.”
The bureau warned that other packages could have been sent to other locations and asked for people to remain vigilant and avoid touching, moving or handling suspicious packages.
A bomb squad officer exits the Time Warner Building in New York Wednesday, where a “live explosive device” was found in CNN’s New York bureau, prompting an on-air evacuation of the building. The device was linked to bombs sent to the Clintons, Obamas and liberal donor George Soros.
A bomb defusing robot is sent into the building housing U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s office in Florida.