Three packages containing pipe bombs have been identified and intercepted Wednesday morning – all of which have been confirmed by authorities.
The first package was sent to former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Chappaqua, N.Y. A second package was sent to former President Barack Obama in Washington, and a third package was sent to the former CIA Director John Brennan at CNN headquarters in Time Warner Center.
An FBI spokesperson confirmed that the Joint Terrorism Task Force was leading the investigation of all incidents. The packages have been sent to an FBI lab for testing, although all three initially appeared to be pipe bombs.
One of the packages also contained an unidentified white powder, which was later confirmed to be harmless.
Officials confirmed that all three packages have identical characteristics and are believed to be sent from the same person(s).
Further analysis of the pipe bombs revealed they were constructed from PVC pipes and filled with low explosive explosive powder, such as that of fireworks, in addition to pieces of shrapnel or glass inside, NBC News reported. Wires connected to a digital timer were also present on the bombs to make them functional in detonating an explosion, although none of the confiscated bombs exploded.
Here’s what we know about each incident.
First Package – Hillary Clinton
The first package was spotted at approximately 1 a.m. Wednesday near the home of the Clintons, according to CNBC News. Officials are saying that the package contains an explosive device.
A technician who screens the Clintons’ mail discovered the first suspicious package before it was directed to their residence.
“The packages were immediately identified during routine mail screening procedures as potential explosive devices and were appropriately handled as such,” Assistant Special Agent Mason Brayman said in a statement. “The protectees did not receive the packages nor were they at risk of receiving them.”
“The Secret Service has initiated a full scope criminal investigation that will leverage all available federal, state and local resources to determine the source of the packages and identify those responsible,” Brayman added.
The FBI and Secret Service are investigating the incident alongside the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the local New Castle Police Department.
FBI New York released a statement saying, “We are aware of a suspicious package found in the vicinity of the Clinton residence in Chappaqua, N.Y., and our JTTF has engaged with our federal, state and local partners to investigate. As this is an ongoing investigation, we will have no further comment at this time.”
We are aware of a suspicious package found in the vicinity of the Clinton residence in Chappaqua, NY, and our JTTF has engaged with our federal, state and local partners to investigate. As this is an on-going investigation, we will have no further comment at this time
— FBI New York (@NewYorkFBI) October 24, 2018
Hillary Clinton was reportedly not home at the time, as she is attending a fundraiser in Florida. Bill Clinton, however, was present at the home.
Second Package – Barack Obama
Another package was found addressed to former President Obama and intercepted Wednesday morning, as confirmed by a Secret Service press release.
BREAKING: Secret Service intercepts suspicious packages addressed to the residences of former President Obama and former First Lady Hillary Clinton. Working with our law enforcement partners on the investigation. Our Statement: https://t.co/lJdTn04KmI
— U.S. Secret Service (@SecretService) October 24, 2018
“Late on October 23, 2018, the Secret Service recovered a single package addressed to Former First Lady Hillary Clinton in Westchester County, New York. Early this morning, October 24, 2018, a second package addressed to the residence of Former President Barack Obama was intercepted by Secret Service personnel in Washington, D.C.,” the Secret Service statement said.
“The packages were immediately identified during routine mail screening procedures as potential explosive devices and were appropriately handled as such. Both packages were intercepted prior to being delivered to their intended location. The protectees did not receive the packages nor were they at risk of receiving them,” the agency added.
Third Package – John Brennan at CNN/Time Warner Center
CNN studio and offices at the Time Warner Center in New York City were evacuated Wednesday morning after the discovery of a suspicious package. The station was in the middle of its morning broadcast when alarms rang out and authorities ushered all personnel out of the building.
.@jimsciutto and @PoppyHarlowCNN were anchoring when CNN was evacuated people had to leave very quickly so DC bureau took over – they’re now up on their phones but being pushed down the street by authorities pic.twitter.com/o2eVAEl9EQ
— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) October 24, 2018
CNN broadcasting was taken over by its Washington office. Emergency alert messages were sent out to NYC residents warning them to shelter in place and avoid 58th Street between Columbus and 8th Avenue in the area of the Time Warner Center.
Due to police activity at 10 COLUMBUS CIRCLE, please avoid the Columbus Circle Area. Updates to follow. pic.twitter.com/fvbjYBzPPJ
— NYPD Midtown North (@NYPDMTN) October 24, 2018
Witnesses observed a containment device arriving on scene to be used in conducting a controlled explosion of the package.
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) October 24, 2018
The package was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan and was said to contain another pipe bomb.
“The package with an explosive device sent to CNN’s NY offices today was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, according to city and local law enforcement officials,” said CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Breaking: The package with an explosive device sent to CNN’s NY offices today was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, according to city and local law enforcement officials.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) October 24, 2018
Additional package incidents
A fourth package was identified at the Sunrise, Fla. office of Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The package was reportedly sent to the office due to its address listed as the sender on the package. The package was originally sent to the office of former Attorney General Eric Holder.
“Breaking — The Sunrise, Florida, office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been evacuated after a suspicious package was found mailed there this morning, according to a spokesman for the police department. Are is secured and the bomb squad is on site,” Tapper tweeted.
Breaking — The Sunrise, Florida, office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been evacuated after a suspicious package was found mailed there this morning, according to a spokesman for the police department. Are is secured and the bomb squad is on site.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) October 24, 2018
Later in the day, two more packages addressed to Rep. Maxine Waters were also intercepted. One was intercepted at a mail processing facility in Maryland, while the other was intercepted in Los Angeles, according to NBC News.
FBI: “We have now confirmed two additional packages, both addressed to Rep. Maxine Waters, that are similar in appearance to the other packages.” https://t.co/5MGorQMkTH
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 25, 2018
The packages addressed to Holder and Waters both had similar characteristics to the other packages, prompting an evacuation of the facilities which intercepted them.
Several other suspicious packages were also discovered at the offices of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sen. Kamala Harris. However, packages at both locations were found to be harmless.
Reactions and further details
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders condemned the attacks in a statement saying, “These terrorizing acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
This is an ongoing situation that President Trump and his admin are monitoring closely. Our condemnation of these dispicable acts certainly includes threats made to CNN as well as current or former public servants. These cowardly acts are unacceptable and wont be tolerated. https://t.co/YbMbCUWMPC
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) October 24, 2018
“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,” Sanders added.
Vice President Mike Pence tweeted his own condemnation of the attacks, saying, “We condemn the attempted attacks against fmr Pres Obama, the Clintons, @CNN & others. These cowardly actions are despicable & have no place in this Country. Grateful for swift response of @SecretService, @FBI & local law enforcement. Those responsible will be brought to justice.”
President Trump retweeted Pence’s statement, saying, “I agree wholeheartedly!”
I agree wholeheartedly! https://t.co/ndzu0A30vU
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 24, 2018
An identical package containing a pipe bomb was located in a mailbox outside philanthropist and political activist George Soros’ home on Monday, located around 10 miles away from the Clinton residence. The package was placed outside the gates of the Soros residence and was discovered by an aide who alerted authorities.