NEW YORK (NBC/WAVY) — Suspicious packages containing pipe bombs were sent to several prominent Democrats and CNN’s New York newsroom, triggering a nationwide investigation Wednesday and bipartisan condemnation.
The targets included former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, former Attorney General Eric Holder, and former CIA Director John Brennan, officials and investigators said.
One intercepted package was addressed to Hillary Clinton and discovered on Tuesday near the Clintons’ home in Chappaqua, New York, a suburb of New York City. Another was addressed to Obama and intercepted Wednesday in Washington, D.C., they said.
NOTE: Live coverage after suspicious packages were intercepted Wednesday, addressed former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and NYPD responded to a suspicious package at Time Warner Center. App users can tune in here.
Yet another was addressed to Brennan and discovered Wednesday at CNN’s base in Manhattan. The newsroom was immediately evacuated and the NYPD bomb squad was summoned and an envelope containing an unknown white powder was also found and is now being examined, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
“What we saw here today was an effort to terrorize,” de Blasio said. “This was clearly an act of terror.”
During the same press conference, Cuomo revealed that one of the packages was addressed to him and sent to his office.
“A device has been sent to my office in Manhattan which we were just informed about and that device is being handled,” he said.
“So far the devices have been what appeared to be pipe bombs,” chimed in Bryan Paarmann, special agent in charge of the FBI Counterterrorism Division and Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York City.
Calfornia Rep. Maxine Waters also was the target of a suspicious package intercepted at a Maryland mail processing facility, according to three congressional leadership sources. The FBI is now investigating whether it is tied to the other packages.
The packages are being sent for analysis at the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia.
“This investigation is of the highest priority for the FBI. 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,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “We ask anyone who may have information to contact the FBI. Do not hesitate to call; no piece of information is too small to help us in this investigation.”
Holder’s package was mailed to the wrong address and wound up being sent back to the bogus return address that was on the other packages, that of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., according to law enforcement officials. It was intercepted by the Secret Service.
“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 statement said.
“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.”
There were also reports of another suspicious package being discovered outside the building that houses the office of Senator Kamala Harris, a California Democrat, as well as the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper. It turned out to be a false alarm.
Speaking in Florida, Hillary Clinton thanked the Secret Service and said they “intercepted the package address to us long before it made its way to our home.”
If you have information about these packages, please contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or tips.fbi.gov. If you observe any suspicious activity that requires an immediate response, please call 911 or contact your local law enforcement.