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Disrupting a rash of targeted attacks to prominent Democratic politicians, the U.S. Secret Service intercepted pipe bombs addressed to Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama early Wednesday.
Also Wednesday, a police bomb squad was sent to CNN’s offices in New York City and the newsroom was evacuated because of a suspicious package. The package, addressed to Obama’s C.I.A. director John Brennan, contained what appeared to be a live explosive device and an envelope containing white powder.
The official said one of the packages had the return address of Rep. Deborah Wasserman Schultz, an ironic reference to the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. Another package was reported to be found at the office that houses the San Diego Union-Tribune and Senator Kamala Harris’ field office. The building was evacuated Wednesday morning.
During a press conference on Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his Manhattan office also received a suspicious device and said “we wouldn’t be surprised if additional devices are sent.”
The FBI said Florida Rep. Schultz received a package that was sent back to her return address, and that one intended for former attorney general Eric Holder was sent to the wrong address. Another package addressed to Democratic California congresswoman Maxine Waters was intercepted at a Congressional mail facility, according to the New York Times.
Thursday morning additional suspicious packages, which resembled the explosive devices sent out earlier in the week, were found in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood, addressed to Robert De Niro, and in Delaware, addressed to former vice president Joe Biden. After an initial device was found in Delaware, a second package was found later Thursday morning.
None of the devices harmed anyone. Neither Clinton nor Obama received the packages, and neither was at risk of receiving them because of screening procedures, the Secret Service said in a statement.
The package addressed to Obama was intercepted Wednesday by Secret Service agents in Washington.
Hillary Clinton was attending campaign events for Democrats in Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday and was not at the family’s New York residence at the time. She is headlining a fundraising reception on Wednesday for former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, who is running for Congress in South Florida.
Bill Clinton was at the family’s Chappaqua home at the time the package was intercepted at a Westchester County facility, said a person familiar with his schedule. The person said the device was screened at the facility — not in proximity to their residence — and never reached the Clintons’ home.
“Many of you and others across our country have asked about me and my family and I’m very grateful for that. We are fine thanks to the men and women of the Secret Service who intercepted the package addressed to us long before it made its way to our home,” Hillary Clinton said later on Wednesday during a Florida event. Chelsea Clinton also thanked the Secret Service on Twitter.
A U.S. official told The Associated Press that investigators believe the explosive that was discovered near the Clintons’ home in Chappaqua, New York, is linked to one found Monday at the compound of liberal billionaire George Soros.
A law enforcement official told The Associated Press that the package discovered at Soros’ home appeared to be a pipe bomb and was in a package placed in a mailbox outside the gates of the compound. A Soros employee opened it just inside the gates, not near Soros’ quarters, the official said.
The White House condemned “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,” press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that that referred to the senders as “these cowards.”
President Trump, who was joined by Melania Trump, condemned the attack while speaking at the White House later on Wednesday. “During 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,” said the president.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said they were “reprehensible acts” and “we cannot tolerate any attempt to terrorize public figures.”
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