Pipe bombs sent to CNN, Clintons, Obamas, other Democrats

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Federal authorities said seven packages, including this one, were sent to several prominent Democrats. The envelopes contained crudely made pipe bombs. (FBI)

Seven apparent pipe bombs of similar design were sent to several prominent Democrats as well as CNN in recent days, according to the U.S. Secret Service.

A bomb intended for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was intercepted in Westchester County before reaching her home. The Secret Service also stopped a bomb sent to former President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C.

A package containing a crude pipe bomb prompted the evacuation of CNN offices in Manhattan Wednesday morning. The package was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, a vocal critic of President Trump.

"We've seen this before, we've seen worse, and we will not be intimidated and we will bring these perpetrators to justice," NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said at an afternoon news conference.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement that the investigation into the slew of mail bombs is the "highest priority" for the bureau.

"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," Wray said. "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."

"The packages were immediately identified during routine mail screening procedures as potential explosive devices and were appropriately handled as such," the Secret Service said in a statement about the devices involving the Clintons and Obamas.

The New Castle Police Department, which covers the area around the Clinton home, issued a statement: "This morning, the New Castle Police Department assisted to FBI, Secret Service, and the Westchester County Police with the investigation of a suspicious package."

A U.S. official called it a "functional explosive device," according to the Associated Press. The FBI took over the investigation, according to local police.

The Clintons live in the hamlet of Chappaqua in northern Westchester County. Former President Clinton was home when the package was intercepted at a Westchester County screening facility.

At a Florida fundraiser, Hillary Clinton said that "we are fine" and thanked the Secret Service for intercepting the package "long before it made its way to our home."

Later Wednesday, the FBI is confirmed that two similar packages addressed to Rep. Maxine Waters were intercepted.

A similar package addressed to former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was rerouted to an office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Florida because her address was on the return label, the FBI said. In fact, all the packages featured Wasserman Schultz's address as the purported sender.

An explosive device was found in the mailbox at the suburban home of billionaire philanthropist George Soros on Monday. The FBI confirmed that the package was similar to the others. Soros is a prominent contributor to Democratic causes and frequent target of far-right-wing conspiracy theories.

The Secret Service said it 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."

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted that President Trump was monitoring the situation closely. She said these "cowardly acts are unacceptable and won't be tolerated."

"It is possible that additional packages were mailed to other locations," the FBI said in a statement. "The FBI advises the public to remain vigilant and not touch, move or handle any suspicious or unknown packages."

The FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, will analyze the devices. In the meantime, federal agents are accepting tips from the public.

This story has been updated to correct that the suspected bomb was intercepted before reaching the Clinton home.