‘Act of terror’: Suspected pipe bomb sent to CNN’s NYC headquarters; similar devices sent to Obamas, Clintons

MANHATTAN — A package containing a live explosive and envelope with white powder were sent to CNN's Manhattan office, prompting an evacuation at Time Warner Center, NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said Wednesday.

A package containing a suspected pipe bomb that was sent to CNN on Oct. 24, 2018, is pictured. (Police source)

Investigators confirm the device appeared to be similar to pipe bombs mailed to former President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton and presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and billionaire philanthropist George Soros. At a news conference, FBI officials described the pipe bombs as crude.

The pictured alert was sent to people in the area after a suspicious package was intercepted at Columbus Circle.

Nobody was hurt by the devices, and no suspects have been named.

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Bill de Blasio labeled the mailings as "an act of terror attempting to undermine our free press and leaders of this country through acts of violence."

The package sent to CNN was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, who appears on air on other broadcast and cable outlets, the Associated Press reports. It included a black device that had wires.

The NYPD first responded to the suspicious package at Time Warner Center just after 10 a.m., and a mobile NYC Emergency Alert went out after 11 a.m. alerting people on West 58th Street between Eighth Avenue and Columbus to shelter in place as law enforcers handled the possibly explosive device.

The CNN newsroom was evacuated as a precaution, according to CNN. The evacuation happened as the network reported about the other intercepted packages, and the moment was captured live on television.

Also at an afternoon news conference, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his office had also received a suspicious package.

The suspicious package did not contain a device and was later determined to be unrelated to the other incidents, according to Assistant Commissioner for Communication and Public Information J. Peter Donald.

Computer files on the right-wing group the Proud Boys was included in the package, officials said.

Cuomo said he would not be surprised if more devices are uncovered, and added that, "we will not allow these terrorist thugs to change the way we live our lives."

 

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders has released a statement about the incidents:

“We condemn the attempted violent attacks recently made against President Obama, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, and other public figures. These terrorizing acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. 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.”

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence also tweeted their condemnation of the mailings:

Trump later addressed the incidents before a news conference on the opioid crisis. Click here to watch.

On Monday an explosive device sent to the Soros' New York home, officials said.

Soros, who made his fortune in hedge funds, frequently donates to liberal causes and is vilified on the right, the AP reports.

Police respond to a suspicious package at Columbus Circle on Oct. 24, 2018. (CNN)

CNN reports it was initially told there was also a pipe bomb addressed to the White House that was being examined at the offsite processing facility that handles White House mail.

CNN later walked back that report, and stated a suspicious package was never addressed to the White House.

As police responded to Columbus Circle, the NYPD asked that New Yorkers remember to stay vigilant and report suspicious devices and activity to the department’s counterterrorism hotline at 1-888-NYC-SAFE (692-7233), or email NYCSAFE@NYPD.org.

Cuomo, de Blasio and police give an update on the situation:

CNN was live from Columbus Circle:

The Associated Press and CNN contributed to this report.

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