Over the past three days, suspicious packages containing explosive devices were found in the mail of billionaire George Soros, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former Attorney General Eric Holder, and at the Time Warner Center that houses CNN. The devices addressed to Soros and Clinton were discovered in Westchester County, NY on Monday and Tuesday. The device sent to Soros was discovered in the mailbox of his residence, while the one sent to Clinton was found by the Secret Service screening her mail. The device addressed to Obama was detected in Washington D.C. earlier today by Secret Service screening of mail sent to his offices there. The device discovered at the Time Warner Center in New York City was also found earlier today in the building’s mail room, prompting an evacuation of the building. The package was addressed to John Brennan, the former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and a CNN contributor.
The device sent to Wasserman Schultz, also detected earlier today, was intended for Holder, but it was returned to her Florida office as that was the return address on the package. Reportedly the bulk of the packages also had Wasserman Shultz’s Florida office as the return address, even though none originated from that location. There have also been reports that Representative Maxine Waters received a suspicious package this afternoon, which was discovered at a Congressional mail facility in Maryland. It has not been confirmed at this time to be an explosive device, although reports indicate the package was similar to the others.
Authorities are investigating a possible and probable link among the incidents. According to open source reports and photographs, the devices appear to be small, simply constructed pipe bombs with functional components. The devices were all constructed in identical fashion, with six-inch PVC pipe, a digital clock, and explosive powder. There is additional speculation that the targets were chosen for their political significance, although it is still too premature in the investigation to confirm motive.
Details are continuing to evolve, and there may be further devices discovered and potential evacuations occurring in the coming days. It is important to rely on routine screening measures and procedures for the mail room that provide fast resolutions to suspicious packages and other mail, and eliminate unnecessary service disruptions. Security personnel should note that all the suspicious packages in recent days have thus far had similar markings, with stamps and a return label as depicted in the picture on the previous page. Please note the image to the right illustrates a typical x-ray image of a pipe bomb, similar to the devices sent this week.
There is speculation that methods of delivery for all the suspicious packages varied, whether through a courier service, hand delivery, or the U.S. Postal Service. These events illustrate the need for security personnel to remain vigilant in detecting any suspicious personnel or packages in the vicinity of their buildings.