WASHINGTON (CBS/WJZ) — A sprawling investigation unfolded Wednesday as authorities scrambled to respond to a series of suspicious packages addressed to the homes of two former presidents, the offices of CNN and a former chair of the Democratic National Committee.
At least two of the packages contained crude explosive devices, and a massive police response shut down one of the busiest areas of midtown Manhattan for hours.
The Secret Service said it has intercepted suspicious packages addressed to former President Obama’s home in Washington and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s residence in Westchester County, New York. Another package discovered in New York prompted the evacuation of CNN’s offices at the Time Warner Center and an enormous police response that shut down the area around the building.
- “Suspicious packages” addressed to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were intercepted by the Secret Service.
- CNN’s New York offices and a Florida office of former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz were also evacuated.
- At least two of the packages included crude but functional low-ordnance explosive devices, according to a law enforcement official.
- The package to CNN was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, CBS News senior national security analyst Fran Townsend reports.
- The device at CNN’s offices was safely removed by the NYPD.
- CBS News has learned that at least one of the return addresses on the suspicious packages was listed as Wasserman Schultz.
A law enforcement source told CBS News the device addressed to the Clinton home was similar to an explosive device sent to the home of billionaire financier George Soros that was discovered on Monday. The source said the package addressed to the Clinton home was sent through the U.S. Postal Service. Clinton’s home is about eight miles from Soros’ residence in the suburbs north of New York City.
In a statement Wednesday, the Secret Service said the packages sent to the Clinton and Obama homes were “immediately identified during routine mail screening as potential explosive devices.”
Neither package was delivered to its intended address.
The packages contained crude but functional low-ordnance explosive devices, a law enforcement official told CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton. At least two of the devices consisted of a pipe, wires and black powder, the official said.
The crude but functional low-ordnance explosive devices found in at least two of the packages consisted of a pipe, wires and black powder, a law enforcement official told CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton. The Sunrise, Florida, offices of Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz were also evacuated over a suspicious package.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders 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,” Sanders said in a statement Wednesday morning. “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.”
Vice President Mike Pence said in a tweet this morning “We condemn the attempted attacks against fmr Pres Obama, the Clintons, @CNN & others. These cowardly actions are despicable & have no place in this Country.”
President Trump retweeted the vice president’s tweet adding “I agree wholeheartedly!”
CNN, citing a law enforcement official, was initially told a suspicious package containing a pipe bomb that was addressed to the White House was intercepted at Joint Base Bolling in Washington, DC. The Secret Service, however, later said it had only intercepted the two packages intended for Obama and Clinton and called reports of a package headed for the White House “incorrect.”
This story is breaking and will be updated.