WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, Oct 24, (Agencies): Authorities intercepted suspicious packages sent to former US president Barack Obama, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and the Time Warner Center in New York, officials said on Wednesday.
The packages sent to the two leading Democrats and a bomb delivered to one of the party’s major donors days earlier come roughly two weeks before the Nov 6 elections that will determine whether Republicans maintain control of Congress in a deeply polarized nation.
A report that a suspicious package also was sent to the White House was later found to be false, a person familiar with the matter said. The package to Clinton was found late Tuesday while the one addressed to Obama was found early Wednesday, both during routine mail screenings, the Secret Service said.
Both Obama and Clinton were not at risk, they added. The White House, in a statement, condemned the attempted attacks on Obama and Clinton. “These terrorizing acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.
“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.” The FBI said it was investigating the packages. “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.
The package addressed to Clinton at her home in the New York suburb of Chappaqua was an explosive device, the New York Times reported. The Time Warner Building in New York City was evacuated on Wednesday morning after a suspicious package that had been mailed was found in the CNN mail room, New York police and CNN said. CNN has a bureau in the building.
The New York Police Department’s bomb squad believes package appeared to be an explosive device and the situation was under control, CNN reported. The discovery of the packages came after a small bomb was found earlier this week at the home of billionaire liberal donor George Soros in the New York City suburb of Katonah, about 10 miles from the Clintons’ home. “Nothing made it to their home,” Bill Clinton’s spokesman said in an email. A spokesman for Hillary Clinton referred queries to the Secret Service statement.
The FBI’s field office in New York said it was “aware” of a suspicious package found in the vicinity” of Clinton’s home in Chappaqua and that its Joint Terrorism Task Force was investigating. The incidents come just days after an explosive device found in the mailbox at the New York home of US billionaire and liberal donor George Soros, a target of right-wing groups. An employee of the residence in Bedford, an ultra-wealthy enclave just a 20-minute drive from Westchester, found the package in the mailbox on Monday.
It was later defused by bomb squad technicians. Born in Hungary, the 88-yearold hedge fund tycoon is one of the world’s richest men with an estimated net worth of $8.3 billion and a prominent philanthropist who has become a hate figure for right-wing groups.
Soros supported Clinton, Trump’s rival in the 2016 US presidential election, and has been accused by nationalists the world over of sponsoring protests and seeking to push a liberal, multicultural agenda. His Open Society Foundations on Tuesday condemned the “hateful rhetoric that dominates politics in the United States and so many countries around the world,” noting it “breeds extremism and violence.
“In this climate of fear, falsehoods, and rising authoritarianism, just voicing your views can draw death threats,” it said. Earlier this month Trump accused Soros of paying demonstrators to protest against the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of attempted rape in high school. Soros has also been falsely accused of funding the caravan of migrants moving north from Honduras through Mexico en route to the US border.