‘AN EF­FORT TO TER­ROR­IZE’

Bombs mailed to Democrats

Calgary Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Ben Ri­ley-smith And Roz­ina Sabur Har­riet Alexan­der

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.

TIM­O­THY A. CLARY / AFP / GETTY IM­AGES

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.

TAIMY AL­VAREZ / SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SEN­TINEL VIA AP

A bomb de­fus­ing ro­bot is sent into the build­ing hous­ing U.S. Rep. Deb­bie Wasser­man Schultz’s of­fice in Florida.

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