CNN evacuates New York City office amid reports of suspicious package after explosive devices sent to Clinton, Obama homes

CNN evacuates New York City office amid reports of suspicious package after explosive devices sent to Clinton, Obama homes

A bomb squad safely removed what authorities called a “live explosive device” mailed to CNN’s office in New York on Wednesday that prompted the network to evacuate its employees.

New York Police Department Commissioner James O’Neill told reporters at a news conference that the department’s bomb squad secured the device and removed it for investigation, and that an envelope containing white powder was found alongside it.

The CNN reporters Jim Sciutto and Jake Tapper tweeted that the package was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, who frequently appears on the network and has been critical of President Donald Trump. The network tweeted a picture of the device.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned the incident as “an effort to terrorize” and praised CNN employees for their professionalism in handling the situation.

“This clearly was an act of terror attempting to undermine our free press and leaders of this country through acts of violence,” he said, adding, “We are going to go about our lives undeterred, because the very concept of terrorism is to change us, and we will not allow that to happen.”

De Blasio added that there were no other credible, specific threats to New Yorkers and that residents should go about their daily routines.

CNN had been broadcasting live Wednesday morning when a fire alarm went off in the Time Warner Center in midtown Manhattan.

Footage showed Sciutto and Poppy Harlow explaining that the alarm had gone off, while employees could be seen leaving the studio. The network cut to commercial.

CNN reporters tweeted photos showing a heavy police response at the scene, and people in the area received emergency alerts on their smartphones telling them to shelter in place.

CNN’s president, Jeff Zucker, told employees in a statement that the package was received in the building’s mail room and that he was “working with authorities to determine the severity of the situation.”

He added that the network was checking all of its bureaus around the world “out of a complete abundance of caution.”

Shimon Prokupecz, a CNN reporter, said on the air that the package was deemed suspicious because an X-ray showed it had metal and wires.

‘A full scope criminal investigation’

NYPD members outside the Time Warner Center on Wednesday.
REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Brian Stelter, CNN’s chief media correspondent, said the package arrived in the mail room around 9:30 a.m.

The incident came amid reports that the Secret Service had intercepted explosive devices mailed to the residences of Bill and Hillary Clinton in Chappaqua, New York, and former President Barack Obama in Washington, DC.

“The Secret Service has initiated a full scope criminal investigation that will leverage all available federal, state, and local resources to determine the source of the packages and identify those responsible,” the Secret Service said in a statement.

Several more were found across the country, including at the offices of Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former chair of the Democratic National Committee; California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris; and California Rep. Maxine Waters.

On Monday, an explosive device was found at the home of the billionaire Democratic donor George Soros in Bedford, New York.

The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, denounced the incidents on Wednesday.

“The White House condemns these types of horrific and despicable acts, and we’ll work with law enforcement to make sure anybody responsible is punished to the full extent of the law,” she told reporters. “Certainly it’s OK to disagree in politics, but it’s never OK to take action against another individual, and we certainly don’t want to see that happen.”

Read Business Insider’s full coverage of the suspicious packages:

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