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News > World

De Niro, Biden Latest Targets in Series of Mailed Explosives

  • NYPD respond to the bomb scare at Time Warner Building, NYC

    NYPD respond to the bomb scare at Time Warner Building, NYC | Photo: Reuters

Published 25 October 2018

Both men have been outspoken critics of United States President Donald Trump.

A suspicious package sent to former U.S. Vice President, Joe Biden, and another sent to actor, Robert De Niro are the latest in a series of intercepted explosive devices sent by mail. At least six others have been targeted.

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Both men have been outspoken critics of United States President Donald Trump.

From Oct. 22 to 25, suspicious packages have been intercepted in New York, Washington D.C., Florida, and California. None of the devices have detonated.

Those targeted include Hillary and Bill Clinton, CNN offices, Maxine Waters, former President Barack Obama, and former C.I.A. Director John Brennan.

Pipe bombs have been identified in some of the packages according to the New York Police Department's Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence & Counterterrorism John Miller.

The package found in CNN’s mailroom contained devices packed with shards of glass and contained an envelope of white powder. News anchors Jim Sciutto and Poppy Harlow had to evacuate in the middle of a live broadcast as they were reporting on the suspected bombs sent to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

New York City police evacuated the building Wednesday after a suspicious package was found in the CNN mailroom. The package was addressed to Brennan, an outspoken Trump critic and contributor to the network.

The incidents are currently under F.B.I. investigation and being led by the counterterrorism team.

“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,” F.B.I. Director Christopher Wray said.

Public and media members during the evacuation of CNN | Reuters

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that the city is increasing security and that the police department’s presence would be increased all over the city. Special attention to media organization offices.

"Terrorism only works if you let it work," he said "We are New Yorkers. We are smart, we are tough, we are resilient, and we will not allow these terrorist thugs to change the way we live our lives," de Blasio said.

Who has been targeted?

The devices, apparently homemade, appear to have come from an individual or individuals with sights set on high profile Democrats. The packages were sent with heavy postage and misspelled names. Here’s who was on the receiving end of the threat:

U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Two packages potentially carrying explosives were sent to two of Waters’ offices in Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

Due to death threats, Waters was forced to cancel public appearances in Texas and Alabama in July.

She had called on supporters in a rally to protest against administration officials during heated debates across the country over the administration's "zero-tolerance" immigration policy.

Trump took aim at her on Twitter, calling her “an extraordinarily low IQ person,” and warning that she “has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max!”

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

According to the Secret Service, a package addressed to Hillary Clinton, who ran against Trump in the 2016 presidential election, was found during an off-site mail screening Tuesday.

Former President Barack Obama

The Secret Service uncovered a suspected explosive device sent to Obama's residence in the Kalorama district of Washington, D.C. during a screening Wednesday. Officials said that Obama was not at risk.

CNN offices in NYC

The package sent to CNN’s offices in NYC was addressed to former C.I.A. director John Brennan who regularly contributes to the network and is an outspoken critic of Trump.

Trump has repeatedly mocked and verbally abused media organizations and journalists, calling CNN and others “fake news”

George Soros, billionaire financier

Soros is one of the world's biggest donors to liberal groups and causes. He is a hated figure for some right-wing activists in the United States and Eastern Europe.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee

Wasserman Schultz’s Florida office was evacuated after a suspicious package was found, according to media reports. The package was addressed to Holder. However, the return address was marked as Wasserman Schultz.

Actor Robert De Niro

A package was found at a property that Robert De Niro owns in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan, according to a source connected to the New York Police Department. De Niro has been critical of Trump, who in turn has criticized the actor.

Joe Biden, former U.S. Vice President

A suspicious package intended for Biden was intercepted in a Delaware mail facility by investigators.

Biden criticized Trump last week for his stance on Saudi leaders after the disappearance and brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“I just don’t know why this administration seems to feel the need to coddle autocrats and dictators,” Biden said, “I don’t understand it.”

Trump’s response
The White House initially condemned the incidents.

“We condemn the attempted violent attacks recently made against President Obama, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, and other public figures,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Trump later took a critical tone on Twitter and blamed media organizations for “Anger” in society.

“A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News. It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!”

CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker said these attacks on the media by the Trump administration are what has given space to a hostile and violent political climate.

"There is a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media," Zucker said in a statement Wednesday.  "The President, and especially the White House Press Secretary, should understand their words matter. Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that."

The F.B.I is requesting that anyone with information contact the bureau.

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