Two explosive devices were found in mail sent to former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Secret Service said Wednesday.
The devices were similar to one found on Monday at the home of the billionaire philanthropist George Soros, and federal authorities were investigating whether they were linked, two law enforcement officials said.
In a statement, the Secret Service said it “has intercepted two suspicious packages addressed to Secret Service protectees,” who were identified as Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama.
The device addressed to Mrs. Clinton in Westchester County was found late on Tuesday by a Secret Service employee who screens mail for her, the statement said. The package addressed to Mr. Obama was intercepted by Secret Service personnel in Washington, D.C. early on Wednesday.
“The packages were immediately identified during routine mail screening procedures as potential explosive devices and were appropriately handled as such,” the statement said. “The protectees did not receive the packages nor were they at risk of receiving them.”
The statement said the agency had “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.”
Also on Wednesday morning, CNN’s offices in Manhattan were evacuated after a suspicious package was found.
Breaking: CNN NY office evacuated. Police bomb squad is here. We’re told of explosive device received. @CNNnewsroom
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) October 24, 2018
Mr. Soros’s home is in a suburb north of New York City. That device was constructed from a length of pipe about six inches long filled with explosive powder, and it was “proactively detonated” by bomb squad technicians, according to one of the officials, all of whom were briefed on the investigation.
The motive of the would-be Soros bomber or bombers remained unclear, one of the officials said, adding that there had not yet been any claim of responsibility.
Law enforcement agencies were closely examining possible ties between the packages and the one sent to Mr. Soros, according to one federal law enforcement official who would not be named discussing ongoing investigations and spoke on condition of anonymity. The connection was being “strongly considered,” the official said.
Mr. Soros, who made his fortune in finance and is now a full-time philanthropist and political activist, is often a subject of the ire of right-wing groups. In recent days, some have falsely speculated that he funded a caravan of migrants moving north in Mexico.
In a statement, the White House condemned “the attempted violent attacks.”
“These terrorizing acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” the statement said. “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.”
It is unclear where exactly the package addressed to Mrs. Clinton was sent. A security guard at the Clinton Foundation’s Midtown Manhattan offices said the explosive device was addressed to Mrs. Clinton’s home in Westchester County, not her offices.
The Clintons have a home in Chappaqua, a suburb of New York City. They bought their 11-room Dutch Colonial home in the affluent enclave in 1999 for $1.7 million as Mr. Clinton ended his tenure in the White House. The decision to settle in Westchester County came as Mrs. Clinton was preparing to run for Senate from New York.
Facing significant debts from the legal troubles that dogged Mr. Clinton’s presidency, the Clinton’s were able to buy the house after their chief fund-raiser, Terry McAuliffe, personally secured a loan.