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Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and CNN targeted with suspected explosive devices

Suspect packages sent to other top Democrats are also being investigated.

One of the packages was sent to the Clintons' home in New York.
One of the packages was sent to the Clintons' home in New York.
Image: PA Images

Updated Oct 24th 2018, 6:30 PM

HILLARY CLINTON HAS said that Americans are living through a “troubling time” after potential explosive devices were sent to her home and that of former President Barack Obama.

The US Secret Service said it intercepted the packages, as numerous other reports of similar scares involving Democrats were reported across the US this afternoon.

CNN evacuated its New York bureau after a suspicious device, which police described as a metal pipe with wires, was found in the mailroom. Bomb squad were on the scene, New York police confirmed.

Two law enforcement officials said the suspicious package was believed to contain a pipe bomb.

The officials said the device was crude but operational and was addressed to Obama-era CIA Director John Brennan, who appears on air on other broadcast and cable outlets.

The top Republican lawmaker, Mitch McConnell, condemned what he called “attempted acts of domestic terrorism” while President Donald Trump joined in condemnation.

In Florida, police using a bomb squad robot in the investigation of a suspicious package at the office of Deborah Wasserman Schultz, the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

A spokesperson for Democratic Senator Kamala Harris, seen as potential challenger to Trump in 2020, said that their San Diego offices were also evacuated today due to suspicious packages being found near the building. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, another Democrat, said a suspicious device was sent to his Manhattan office that the he “wouldn’t be surprised” if other devices were sent. 

“A device has been sent to my office in Manhattan,” Cuomo told a news conference. “The device sent to my office has been identified and is being handled as we speak.”

The US Secret Service confirmed this morning that suspect packages were sent to First Lady Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama.

One package was sent to the New York home of Bill and Hillary Clinton and the other was sent to Obama’s Washington residence.

The Secret Service said in a statement:

The US Secret Service has intercepted two suspicious packages addressed to Secret Service protectees.

Late on 23 October, 2018, the Secret Service recovered a single package addressed to Former First Lady Hillary Clinton in Westchester County, New York. Early this morning, 24 October, 2018, a second package addressed to the residence of Former President Barack Obama was intercepted by Secret Service personnel in Washington, DC.

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 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.

A US official speaking on the condition of anonymity told the Associated Press that a “functional explosive device” was found at the Clintons’ suburban home in Chappaqua, New York.

The official says investigators believe the explosive is linked to one found yesterday at the compound of billionaire George Soros.

Police in New Castle, New York, who cover Chappaqua, say they assisted the FBI, Secret Service and Westchester County authorities in “the investigation of a suspicious package.”

Speaking this afternoon after the Secret Service find was made public, Hillary Clinton said America is in “a troubling time” before appealing for national unity.

“We are fine, thanks to the men and women of the Secret Service who intercepted the package addressed to us long before it made its way to our home,” she said.

But it is a troubling time, isn’t it? And it’s a time of deep divisions, and we have to do everything we can to bring our country together.

While live on air reporting on the explosive find, CNN headquarters in New York was itself evacuated after an alarm was sounded.

Pictures from outside showed police surrounding the Time Warner Centre with the NYPD asking people to stay away from the area.

CNN has since confirmed that the evacuation was due to a suspicious package and that a police bomb squad was at its offices.

The station is itself reporting that the device is being treated as a real explosive and “was constructed with a pipe and wires” 

The White House has condemned what it called “attempted violent attacks” on Clinton and Obama, describing them as “despicable”.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders described them in a statement as “terrorising acts”.

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted:

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 tweeted in support of Pence, stating: “I agree wholeheartedly!” 
The Secret Service has also moved to correct some incorrect reports that a package was also sent to the White House. CNN was among those who reported this but the Secret Service said in a tweet that this was not correct, stating: 
“At this time the Secret Service has intercepted TWO suspicious packages – one in NY and one in D.C. Reports of a third intercepted package addressed to the WH are incorrect.”

- With reporting by Associated Press and © – AFP 2018

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Rónán Duffy

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