The Los Angeles Police Department was among numerous law enforcement organizations Wednesday keeping a close watch on the investigation into suspicious packages addressed to Democratic political leaders including Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama.
One of the suspicious packages was found at a congressional mail-sorting center in Maryland, and it was addressed to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles.
“I have been informed by U.S. Capitol Police that my Washington, D.C., office was the target of a suspicious package that has been referred to the FBI,” Waters said. “I am appreciative of the law enforcement entities who intercepted the package and are investigating this matter. I unequivocally condemn any and all acts of violence and terror.”
In response to the wave of suspicious packages, which prompted some evacuations but caused no injuries, the LAPD issued a statement saying, “We are aware of the suspicious packages sent to several locations on the East Coast. Right now, there is no nexus to Los Angeles. However, we are monitoring the situation and communicating with our federal and local law enforcement partners.”
The heightened tensions brought on by the bomb scares, however, prompted a brief evacuation of a portion of the Los Angeles Times’ building in the 2300 block of East Imperial Highway in El Segundo. According to El Segundo police Sgt. Aaron Corkins, The Times contacted officers around 11:15 a.m. about a “suspicious package” that had been received. The call prompted a partial building evacuation and some street closures.
By early afternoon, however, authorities determined there was no explosive involved and the evacuation and street closures were lifted. But a hazardous materials team was examining three or four envelopes to determine if they contained any toxic substances, Corkins said.
According to the Washington Post, the U.S. Secret Service said it had intercepted packages containing “potential explosive devices” addressed to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in New York and former President Barack Obama in Washington. Meanwhile, a suspicious package containing what police described as a potentially live explosive device was received at CNN’s headquarters in New York, addressed to former CIA chief John Brennan. The building was evacauted, and the package was removed by a bomb squad.
The return address on the envelope sent to CNN headquarters had the name and address of Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schulz, a former Democratic National Committee chair. Another device was addressed to former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder, but when it couldn’t be delivered, it was forwarded to the return address on the envelope — also Shulz’s office in Florida.
On Monday, a suspicious item was found in a mailbox at the Bedford, New York, home of George Soros, the liberal philanthropist who is a frequent target of criticism from far-right groups.
The devices sent to the Clintons and Obamas were found during screening and did not make it to them, officials said. The Secret Service said the package addressed to the Chappaqua, New York, home of the Clintons was recovered late Tuesday.
The package sent to the Obamas’ Washington home was intercepted early Wednesday, authorities said.
The devices sent to the Clintons and Obamas are suspected to be the work of the same person who sent a similar device to Soros earlier this week, according to two law enforcement officials who spoke to the Post on the condition of anonymity.
These mail bombs prompted security and law enforcement officials across the country to take a hard look at incoming pieces of mail to look for other, undiscovered bombs.
Authorities urged anyone who receives a suspicious package to contact law enforcement, the official said.
In San Diego, the building housing the San Diego Union-Tribune and an office of Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., was briefly evacuated following the discovery of a suspicious pile of boxes outside, but that evacuation was lifted when the boxes were determined to contain everyday items.
Jeff Zucker, president of CNN, wrote in a letter to employees that the center was “evacuated out of an abundance of caution” after the package was found in the mailroom. He also told employees that CNN had checked on its other bureaus but found no other devices.