Florida mail facility focus of mail bomb plot

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(Courtesy of FBI)

Investigators are continuing their efforts to track down the culprit or culprits behind a string of pipe bombs mailed to actor Robert De Niro, CNN and several prominent Democrats, including former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

Pipe bombs intended for Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and former National Intelligence Director James Clapper were intercepted on Friday. 

For now, the search seems focused on Florida. Authorities say at least some of the packages likely originated from a facility in Opa-locka.  Meanwhile, authorities have declined to discuss motives or how the packages found their way into the U.S. postal system.

The NYPD Bomb Squad removed a suspicious package found at Robert De Niro's Tribeca Film Center in Lower Manhattan Thursday morning. The package was addressed to the Hollywood actor and came to 375 Greenwich Street, which also houses his office and restaurant.

A retired police detective who works at De Niro's office noticed that the package looked very similar to the ones sent to CNN, former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. and several other Democrats in recent days so he called the Bomb Squad and the local precinct.

X-rays showed that it contained an apparent pipe bomb like the others. The Bomb Squad placed the package in a containment vehicle and brought it to its detonation facility in the Bronx.

De Niro issued a statement through his publicist about the bomb a day later.

"There's something more powerful than bombs, and that's your vote. People must vote!" He went on to say that he was thankful no one was hurt. He also thanked "the brave and resourceful security and law enforcement people for protecting us."

On Thursday, authorities in Delaware intercepted two suspicious packages addressed to former Vice President Joe Biden.

So far this week, authorities have collected 10 suspected mail bombs, according to FBI Assistant Director in Charge William Sweeney Jr. They turned up in several locations in New York, Maryland, Florida, Delaware, and California, he said. The FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, is analyzing the packages and devices.

The first bomb discovered was delivered Monday to the suburban New York compound of George Soros, a liberal billionaire and major contributor to Democratic causes.

The FBI said an additional package was intended for former Attorney General Eric Holder, but that one ended up at a Florida office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose return address was on it.

Two suspicious packages addressed for Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat, were intercepted on Wednesday in Los Angeles, the FBI said.

Law enforcement officials said all the packages were similar. Each was a bubble-padded manila envelope bearing six stamps and a return address for Wasserman Schultz, a Florida Democrat and former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.


On Thursday, without directly referencing the explosive devices, President Trump again blamed the media for the "anger" in society.

"A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News," he said in a morning Tweet. "It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!"

The White House condemned the attacks aimed at Democrats and other perceived foes of the administration.

"Acts or threats of political violence have no place in the United States," Trump said. "This egregious conduct is abhorrent."

Other Republican leaders said the same. But Democratic Senate and House leaders Chuck Schumer of New York and Nancy Pelosi of California said such words "ring hollow" when coming from Trump. They noted the president's recent praise of a GOP congressman who body-slammed a reporter, among other Trump statements.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.