The Slatest

Everything We Know About the String of Pipe Bombs Sent to Prominent Democrats

On a campaign rally stage, Obama smiles and points to the crowd while Hillary Clinton gestures with her hands.
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama during a rally on Nov. 7, 2016, in Philadelphia.
Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

A string of suspicious packages addressed to prominent Democratic figures and at least one news outlet have been discovered by the Secret Service in recent days. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have been among the intended recipients of the devices, some of which have been identified as pipe bombs. Here is what we know so far.

The first suspicious package was discovered Monday in the mailbox of well-known liberal donor and philanthropist George Soros’ home in Bedford, New York, authorities said. After a caretaker found the device, a bomb squad detonated it. Authorities described the device as a six-inch-long pipe filled with explosive powder and rigged with a detonator. Federal authorities said they believed the device was hand-delivered, according to the New York Times.

On Wednesday morning, news broke that the Secret Service had intercepted an explosive device addressed to Hillary and Bill Clinton in Westchester County, New York, where they have a home. Soon after, the Secret Service also revealed it had found a device addressed to Barack Obama in Washington, D.C, where he lives. The packages were discovered as part of a routine mail screening, according to a statement, and no one was harmed.

Later in the morning, CNN was evacuated from its New York offices because of a suspicious package, leaving anchors to report from the street. Authorities later said the explosive device was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, who does not work for CNN. The counterterrorism chief for the New York Police Department later said that the device appeared to have been sent by the same person who sent pipe bombs to Soros, Clinton, and Obama.

A fourth suspicious package was reportedly found at the Florida office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a former Democratic National Committee chairwoman. NBC News has reported that the suspicious packages sent to Soros, the Clintons, and Obama listed Wasserman Schultz for the return address. CNN reported that the package found at Wasserman Schultz’s office might have actually been intended for former Attorney General Eric Holder: According to CNN, a suspicious package was addressed to Holder, but it was addressed incorrectly and rerouted to the return address. NBC has also reported that Secret Service intercepted a package addressed to Holder, but it is unclear if the two reports are about the same package.

U.S. Capitol Police told CNN on Wednesday afternoon that they had intercepted a suspicious package at the Capitol Heights, Maryland, facility where mail is processed for members of the House. CNN and NBC reported that that package had been addressed to Rep. Maxine Waters.

During a press conference about the pipe bombs, and after one false report about a suspicious package sent to his office earlier in the day, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that his Manhattan office had received a suspicious package as well. Officials later said that the package was not an explosive.

The Secret Service said it has launched a criminal investigation into the attempted attacks of Obama and Clinton “that will leverage all available federal, state, and local resources” to find the person or people responsible, according to its statement.

The motive behind the attempted bombings are not known. Just as Clinton and Obama are vilified figures among the far right, Soros has been the focus of right-wing anger and conspiracy-mongering. Holder and Wasserman Schultz are also highly unpopular among the conservatives, as is CNN. Brennan has become an outspoken anti-Trump figure.

Authorities have said they suspect the bomb intended for Clinton in New York is the work of the same person who sent the bomb to Soros, according to the Washington Post. The New Castle Police Department in Chappaqua said it worked with the Secret Service and the Westchester Police in investigating the package sent to the Clintons.

This post has been updated throughout the day to include additional information as the story develops.