A sprawling investigation unfolded Wednesday as authorities scrambled to respond to a series of suspicious packages addressed to the homes of two former presidents, the offices of CNN and a former chair of the Democratic National Committee. At least two of the packages contained crude explosive devices, and a massive police response shut down one of the busiest areas of midtown Manhattan for hours.
The Secret Service said Wednesday morning it had intercepted packages addressed to former President Obama's home in Washington and Bill and Hillary Clinton's residence in Westchester County, New York. Another package discovered in New York prompted the evacuation of the CNN offices.
The crude but functional low-ordnance explosive devices found in at least two of the packages consisted of a pipe, wires and black powder, a law enforcement official told CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton. The Sunrise, Florida, offices of Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz were also evacuated over a suspicious package.
Responses to packages by Trump administration, White House
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders condemned "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," Sanders said in a statement Wednesday morning. "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."
Vice President Mike Pence said in a tweet this morning "We condemn the attempted attacks against fmr Pres Obama, the Clintons, @CNN & others. These cowardly actions are despicable & have no place in this Country."
President Trump retweeted the vice president's tweet adding "I agree wholeheartedly!"
I agree wholeheartedly! https://t.co/ndzu0A30vU— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 24, 2018
Suspicious package at CNN's New York offices at Time Warner Center
10:26 a.m. The New York City Police Department is investigating a suspicious package at the Time Warner Center in New York City, the NYPD confirmed to CBS News. The NYPD didn't say to whom the package was addressed.
Shortly after news of the initial packages emerged Wednesday morning, authorities hastily evacuated the Time Warner Center in midtown Manhattan, where CNN's New York offices are located. Its anchors were live on the air when an alarm rang out and members of the NYPD responded to the scene.
Police promptly shut down the area around the building. CNN said its bureau in the Time Warner Center has been evacuated "as a precaution."
A NYPD bomb squad was on its way to the Time Warner Center Wednesday morning and that the entire building was evacuated. Areas around the building were also being evacuated.
CNN reported the package discovered in New York was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, citing city and local law enforcement sources. At noon, CNN President Jeff Zucker said in a statement that police had safely removed the package from the building.
West 58th St is blocked off around CNN and the Time Warner Center. Lots of police, sirens, and media. pic.twitter.com/7Hahg09p5R— Eric Levenson (@ejleven) October 24, 2018
Suspicious packages sent to homes of President Obama, Hillary Clinton
10 a.m. The Secret Service said it has intercepted suspicious packages addressed to former President Obama's home in Washington and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's residence in Westchester County, New York. Another package discovered in New York prompted the evacuation of CNN's offices at the Time Warner Center and an enormous police response that shut down the area around the building.
A law enforcement source told CBS News the device addressed to the Clinton home was similar to an explosive device sent to the home of billionaire financier George Soros that was discovered on Monday. The source said the package addressed to the Clinton home was sent through the U.S. Postal Service. Clinton's home is about eight miles from Soros' residence in the suburbs north of New York City.
In a statement Wednesday, the Secret Service said the packages sent to the Clinton and Obama homes were "immediately identified during routine mail screening as potential explosive devices." Neither package was delivered to its intended address.
The packages contained crude but functional low-ordnance explosive devices, a law enforcement official told CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton. At least two of the devices consisted of a pipe, wires and black powder, the official said.