Investigators seized three more suspected package explosives — two addressed to former Vice President Joe Biden in Delaware and one addressed to Robert De Niro in New York — early Thursday, bringing the total number of confiscated devices sent to high-profile Democrats and others to 10 in 72 hours.
News of the De Niro device broke first. That one was addressed to him and had been sent to a Greenwich Street building he owns that houses offices for Tribeca Films and Tribeca Grill, law enforcement officials tell News 4. A building worker called police early Thursday because, after seeing Wednesday’s news, he remembered seeing a similar package a day or so ago. The device was removed from the property and no evacuation was ordered; the building was unoccupied.
Less than two hours later, the FBI and local police swarmed a postal facility in Delaware in connection with the bombing investigation. Sources had said authorities suspected a similar device may have been addressed to Biden. Nothing was found at his house, but investigators apparently tracked it down in a New Castle postal facility, officials said. It was said to be akin to the others. About an hour later, a second package addressed to Biden was confiscated at a postal facility in Wilmington, Delaware. Details on that one weren’t clear.
The De Niro device and at least the first Biden package had the same stamps and return address (that of ex-Democratic National Committee chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz) as others reported on Wednesday.
As of early Thursday, there have been 10 such packages. In addition to Biden and De Niro, two devices in separate packages were addressed to Rep. Maxine Waters of California; ones were also addressed to Hillary Clinton, former President Obama, ex-Attorney General Eric Holder and former CIA director John Brennan. The first in the series was a mailbox pipe bomb left at the Westchester County home of billionaire philanthropist George Soros.
None of the devices detonated and no one has been hurt. Authorities are examining the crude explosives and warning there could be more out there. NBC News obtained an X-ray photo of one of the bombs, which shows protruding wires that appeared to be connected to a cylindrical device.
According to sources, the explosive devices were made from PVC pipe and contained a timer (likely a digital alarm clock) to set off the detonator. The powder contained in the bombs comes from pyrotechnics. X-rays show there was likely shrapnel inside the PVC pipe, law enforcement officials say.
Multiple senior bomb technicians briefed on the case said the devices had all the components necessary to set off a successful explosion, though other experts have argued they may not all have been viably constructed.
And that may have been on purpose.
“There’s a theory that the bombs were not intended to explode, but were intended to intimidate,” Gov. Cuomo said on CNN Thursday. “If that is the intent, then this is having the desired intent. And it could actually be fueling the group that’s doing it.”
Meanwhile, investigators examining the explosive devices are working to glean forensic clues to help identify who sent them, gathering fingerprints and DNA evidence while tracking the origin of the packages and the components used.
Larry Johnson, a former head of criminal investigations for the U.S. Secret Service who also served as a special agent in charge of the presidential protective detail, said it is highly likely that the person or people who built the bombs have been previously flagged by law enforcement.
If you have info that could assist the #FBI’s investigation of suspicious packages, call 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324) or use http://tips.fbi.gov.
The reaction to the devices was swift and visceral, with high-level people on both sides of the aisle, including the president, pledging Wednesday no resources would be spared in taking down whoever was responsible.
The tone became more partisan-charged over the course of the day, with some assailing the White House for its “violent political rhetoric.” Upon news three more packages, including two addressed to Biden, were seized early Thursday, Brennan, who was the addressee on the CNN package, tweeted at Trump to “Look in the mirror” and “Clean up your act.”
“Stop blaming others,” Brennan tweeted. “Your inflammatory rhetoric, insults, lies & encouragement of physical violence are disgraceful.”
The president responded shortly thereafter, slamming “Fake News” as “a very big part of the Anger we see today in our society.”
“Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST,” Trump added.
Photo Credit: News 4
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Source: NBC San Diego