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After 'Explosive Devices' Are Sent to CNN and Top Dems, NYC Mayor Has a Message for Public Officials

Security was ramped up across the city Wednesday after a quartet of suspicious packages were mailed to the homes of former Presidents Clinton and Obama, Gov. Cuomo's Manhattan office and CNN's New York newsroom

By Jillian Jorgensen , Thomas Tracy and Larry Mcshane

Security was ramped up across the city Wednesday after a quartet of suspicious packages were mailed to the homes of former Presidents Clinton and Obama, Gov. Cuomo's Manhattan office and CNN's New York newsroom.

Authorities were quick to denounce the incidents as terrorism after the live device was found at the CNN offices, addressed to ex-CIA director John Brennan -- a frequent guest on the cable news channel and a vocal critic of President Trump.

The CNN newsroom on Columbus Circle was evacuated after the Bomb Squad was called to investigate "pipe bomb with wires sticking out of it," sources said. Authorities said an envelope containing an unidentified white power was stuffed inside the CNN package.

The packages were sent to three prominent of the most Democratic politicians and the network often derided by Trump for its reporting on the White House.

"There are a number of devices and a pattern," Gov. Cuomo said at a news conference outside the Time Warner Building. "We wouldn't be surprised if additional devices are sent."

Cuomo announced that he had just learned one of the packages went to his office in Manhattan. Officials told the news conference that there was no specific threat against any other location in the city at this time, and no injuries were reported.

Authorities immediately announced plans for an increased police presence on the subways and streets in response to the bombs. Cops across the city were told to expected extended shifts as a result of the letter bombs. And patrols were increased at city locations connected to the Clintons, Obamas and Soros, officials said.

The NYPD, in a department-wide missive, urged all officers "to be alert for suspicious activity and unattended packages or bags."

Mayor de Blasio called on politicians of both parties to stop with their attacks on the nation's media.

"To all public officials, of all partisan affiliations, don't encourage violence, hatred and attacks on the media," said de Blasio. "You can disagree ... but air your disagreements peacefully."

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both condemned the malevolent mailings. In his tweet, Pence condemned "attempted attacks against fmr Pres Obama, the Clintons, @CNN & others."

"I agree wholeheartedly!" Trump added to a retweet of the Pence message.

CNN President Jeff Zucker said that the Manhattan offices were evacuated "out of an abundance of caution." All of CNN's other offices worldwide have been checked and no other suspicious packages have been found.

The U.S. Secret Service reported that they intercepted mail bombs sent to the homes of the two ex-presidents. Cuomo said police checked on the Clinton residence in Chappaqua around 4:30 a.m. and found nothing was amiss.

Bill Clinton was reportedly at the family's suburban home at the time the package was intercepted at a Westchester County facility, and the package never reached their home. It was addressed to Hillary Clinton, according to police sources.

On Monday night, a pipe bomb was delivered to the mailbox of the Westchester County home belonging to billionaire philanthropist and liberal benefactor George Soros.

Police are also responding to a report of a suspicious package at the Open Society Foundation in Midtown, which is connected to Soros.

"The NYPD is actively working with its federal partners in active investigations regarding explosive devices sent to former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, businessman George Soros and CNN in Columbus Circle," an NYPD source said Wednesday.

The NYPD is a member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

The explosive sent to the Clinton's home in Chappaqua was similar to the one found at Soros' home, federal sources said.

On Tuesday night, the Secret Service recovered a "suspicious package" addressed to former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The explosive was inside a small shipping envelope with postage and was made to appear like a USPS package -- much like the one that arrived at Soros' home a day earlier, the source said.

The return address on both packages was from Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the head of the Democratic National Party during the last election.

According to CNN, a fifth package sent to ex-Attorney General Eric Holder wound up in Schultz's office on Wednesday. Her Florida office was listed as the return address, and the package had the wrong address for the nation's one-time top prosecutor.

On Wednesday morning, an explosive package was intercepted at the Washington D.C. home of former President Barack Obama. It was not immediately disclosed if the package was similar to the ones sent to Soros and Clinton.

"The packages were immediately identified during routine mail screening procedures as potential explosive devices and were appropriately handled as such," the U.S. Secret Service said in a statement Wednesday. "The protectees did not receive the packages nor were they at risk of receiving them."

An investigation into who sent the packages was underway.

"We are aware of a suspicious package found in the vicinity of the Clinton residence in Chappaqua, NY, and our JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force) has engaged with our federal, state and local partners to investigate," the FBI said on Twitter.

Authorities were able to detonate that device found at Soros' home without anyone being injured, officials said.

(c)2018 New York Daily News

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
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