A major federal investigation is being conducted after suspicious packages addressed to former U.S. president Barack Obama, two-time presidential candidate Hilary Clinton, CNN, and other individuals were intercepted. The Secret Service described the packages sent to Obama and Clinton as “potential explosive devices”.
The Time Warner Center in New York, which houses CNN’s New York division, was evacuated the morning after a suspicious package was discovered around 9 am on Wednesday morning. The office wouldn’t reopen until 3:30 pm.
In a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, FBI officials stated that the packages addressed to CNN contained “what appeared to be a pipe bomb” along with “an unidentified white powder”.
Following the bombs sent to CNN, Obama, and Clinton, a fourth package was found at Democratic Representative Deborah Wasserman Schultz’s Florida office. These four pipe bomb threats follow a detonated pipe bomb that was sent to noted philanthropist George Soros earlier in the week.
Late Wednesday afternoon, a 5th suspicious package addressed to Democratic Representative Maxine Water was intercepted by Capitol Hill police.
Waters said in a statement: “I have been informed by the U.S. Capital Police that my Washington DC office was the target of a suspicious package that has been referred to the FBI.”
New York Governor Andre Cuomo claimed he was also targeted by a peculiar package, but it’s unconfirmed whether there were explosives in his package.
Thus far, there have been no explosions or injury reports. The packages have all appeared to target either prominent figures in the Democratic Party or associates of CNN, a news network often derided by conservative media.
The packages landed as current midterm election campaigns were occurring across the nation. The Nov. 6 midterms could change the entire composition of the Senate and the House of Representatives in the final half of President Donald Trump’s 4-year term. Trump has often been critical of the Democrats and CNN, characterizing them as carriers of “fake news”.
In response to the attacks, the president said firmly that “acts or threats of political violence have no place in the United States of America”.
Trump affirmed that “the full weight of the government” would be deployed to investigate the packages.
White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders also issued out a statement condemning these packages as an act of terrorism:
“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.”
Bill de Blaisio, Mayor of New York, said there was no other information “available at this time” but the city has increased its police presence as a precaution.