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'Suspicious Packages' Mailed To Clinton, Obama And CNN

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Updated at 1:33 p.m. ET

U.S. authorities are investigating multiple suspicious packages sent to several leading Democratic figures and to CNN.

The Secret Service said Wednesday that it has intercepted two suspicious packages that were addressed to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Westchester County, N.Y., and former President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C.

Authorities also intercepted a suspicious package addressed to former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, two people familiar with the matter told NPR's Carrie Johnson on Wednesday.

At an afternoon news conference, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that "a device has been sent to my office in Manhattan, which we were just informed about." That device is being "handled," he said.

On Monday, an explosive device was found at the home of billionaire George Soros — a frequent contributor to Democratic and progressive causes.

The packages addressed to Clinton and Obama "were immediately identified during routine mail screening procedures as potential explosive devices and were appropriately handled as such," the Secret Service said in a statement Wednesday. "The protectees did not receive the packages nor were they at risk of receiving them."

The package to Clinton was intercepted late Tuesday, and the package to Obama was intercepted early Wednesday morning.

Clinton said Wednesday that "we are fine," thanks to the men and women of the Secret Service. Speaking at a Florida fundraiser for Donna Shalala, a former HHS secretary who is running for Congress, she added that it is a "troubling time," a time of deep divisions, and "we have to do everything we can to bring our country together."

CNN said its New York City office was evacuated Wednesday morning due to a suspicious package received in its mailroom. In a note to staff, President Jeff Zucker said the Time Warner Center was cleared "out of an abundance of caution."

CNN broadcast images of a yellow mailing envelope addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan and Time Warner Center, with a return address for former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Sunrise, Fla.


The New York Police Department confirmed that its officers were investigating a suspicious package in Columbus Circle, where the CNN office is located.

Additionally, police in Sunrise, Fla., said they are "working on an investigation of a suspicious package near Sawgrass Corporate Parkway." Wasserman Schultz has an office in that area, though it's not clear whether the package was addressed to her.

With regard to the Clinton and Obama packages, the Secret Service says it is investigating the incidents, using "all available federal, state, and local resources to determine the source of the packages and identify those responsible."

The FBI's New York field office said in a tweet that it is "aware of a suspicious package found in the vicinity of the Clinton residence in Chappaqua, NY."

Local law enforcement told NPR that "this morning the New Castle Police Department assisted the FBI, Secret Service, and the Westchester County Police with the investigation of a suspicious package," and added that "the matter is currently under federal investigation."

Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, bought a house in Chappaqua, N.Y., in 1999; two years ago, they bought a second house — the one next door.

Like the Clintons, Soros lives in Westchester County, N.Y. The left-leaning billionaire philanthropist is the founder of the Open Society Foundations, which work to "build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens." (The OSF has been a financial supporter of NPR.)

When the Obama family left the White House, they rented a house in D.C.'s Kalorama neighborhood that they purchased months later. The couple have said they want to remain in Washington, D.C., until their youngest daughter, Sasha, finishes high school.

In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, "We condemn the attempted violent attacks recently made against President Obama, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, and other public figures." She added, "These terrorizing acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law."

House Speaker Paul Ryan echoed those sentiments, saying, "Those behind such reprehensible acts must be brought to justice. We cannot tolerate any attempt to terrorize public figures."

Some media outlets had suggested that the White House received a suspicious package, but the Secret Service later clarified that "reports of a third intercepted package addressed to the WH are incorrect."

On Wednesday, the downtown San Diego office of The San Diego Union-Tribune was briefly evacuated due to concerns about a possible suspicious package. That was later determined to be a false alarm and police havegiven the all clear.

This is a breaking news story. As often happens in situations like these, some information reported early may turn out to be inaccurate. We'll move quickly to correct the record, and we'll only point to the best information we have at the time.

Jonese Franklin