Apparent Explosive Devices Addressed To Robert DeNiro And Joe Biden Intercepted

More explosive devices sent to prominent Trump critics, including Robert DeNiro and Joe Biden, have been located.

After yesterday’s news of apparent pipe bombs sent to the offices of seven political and media critics of the President, this morning we learned of two more packages sent to critics of the President, beginning early this morning with reports of a package received at a building housing businesses and a restaurant owned by actor Robert DeNiro, a prominent Trump critic:

The morning after pipe bombs mailed to prominent Democrats and CNN put the country on edge and sent law enforcement officials scrambling to prevent any more packages from reaching their targets, police in New York swarmed a building in lower Manhattan after receiving reports of a suspicious package addressed to actor Robert De Niro.

The package discovered in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood early Thursday appeared similar to ones sent to political figures earlier this week containing homemade bombs, law enforcement officials said.

The new package was discovered around 5 a.m. by security personnel working for De Niro’s film company, Tribeca Productions, according to police. A police spokesman said the parcel “was similar to explosive packages that had been publicized.”

An X-ray of the package indicated a similar pipe bomb inside, and investigators suspect it was sent by the same person who sent explosives to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and others, a law enforcement official said.

Video from the scene showed the NYPD bomb squad removing the package in a heavily armored containment truck. It was transported to Rodman’s Neck, a peninsula in the Bronx where the NYPD explodes bombs, the department said.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) urged people across the city to be on alert, and to refrain from opening suspicious packages. “Alert authorities, call 911,” de Blasio said on CNN. He added that New York had “put an additional NYPD presence outside media companies across the city, outside the offices of certain elected officials.”

The hunt for a serial mail bomber began late Tuesday when Secret Service personnel conducting standard mail screenings found a pipe bomb inside a plain manila envelope with a bubble-wrapped interior addressed to Clinton, the former secretary of state. A similarly packaged bomb was found hours later in mail addressed to Obama.

Neither bomb got close to its intended target, and neither contained a written message, according to law enforcement officials. But the finds led to the discovery of other undetonated devices elsewhere, including in the mailroom at CNN’s New York headquarters and a district office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.).

As more devices were found, a disturbing pattern emerged — the bomber or bombers appeared to be targeting prominent figures on the political left, many of whom have been targets of President Trump’s incendiary rhetoric.

The first such package was discovered Monday at the New York home of George Soros, a billionaire activist known to fund pro-democracy and liberal political groups.

The package discovered at De Niro’s film-production offices was addressed to directly to the actor, who publicly tangled with Trump in June.

“F— Trump,” De Niro said during a profane broadside at the Tony Awards. “It’s no longer down with Trump, but f— Trump.”

The president counterattacked on Twitter.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other officials described the devices discovered this week as attempted acts of terrorism, and authorities cautioned that the number of bombs — and intended victims — could grow. FBI Director Christopher A. Wray issued an appeal for the public’s help to catch the bomber and warned people not to touch suspicious packages.

Law enforcement officials described the devices as pipes stuffed with explosive material and wrapped in electrical wire and tape, but they provided no detail on how they would have been detonated.

As indicated, New York Police Department sources indicate that the package that was removed from DeNiro’s property was identical in appearance to those that were recovered yesterday and earlier this week which were addressed to media and political figures such as former President Obama, former Secretary State Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who apparently was the target of two devices sent to both her Washington, D.C. and California offices, the CNN offices in New York, and financier George Soros. Shortly after the NYPD took custody of the package that was delivered to DeNiro, it was reported that a package of similar design was intercepted at a mail facility in Delaware and addressed to former Vice-President Joe Biden:

It’s a new day, but the flurry of reports about suspicious packages mailed to famous people and political leaders continues.

TV stations in Philadelphia reported early Thursday that a suspicious package may have been mailed to former Vice President Joe Biden.

A police sweep of Biden’s Greenville home turned up nothing on Wednesday, but on Thursday morning there was a police presence at the Quigley Boulevard post office in New Castle. Police could also be seen outside the Lancaster Avenue post office in Wilmington.

Wilmington Police said they were investigating a suspicious package in the 1500 block of Lancaster Avenue, and that Chestnut Street was shut down from North DuPont Street to North Broom Street. The post office is located at 1500 Lancaster Avenue.

Lancaster Avenue remained open.

The Secret Service directed inquiries about the Thursday morning investigation to the FBI and the Postal Service. The Postal Service said it was referring the question to the Postal Inspection Service. According to the FBI, a statement is pending from New Castle County officials on the matter.

The FBI confirmed to CNN that it was responding with other law enforcement “to a US Postal facility in Delaware.”

ABC 6 reported that law enforcement sources said the package had similarities to other packages under investigation by federal authorities.

Police said Thursday morning that a suspicious package was also sent to a building in New York City that houses the Tribeca Grill, started by Robert De Niro, and his Tribeca Film Center, USA Today reported.

Authorities had apparently been searching for the package addressed to Biden since last night, and at least initially believed that it may have been misaddressed and sent to Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s Florida District Office since this has been the return address on all of the packages so far. It’s unclear, though, if the search was motivated by information they had obtained that a package was on its way to Biden or on the assumption that he might be a target due to the pattern we have seen so far from whoever is responsible for these attempted attacks. As with the packages to Obama, Clinton, Holder, and Waters, these packages were sent through the United States Postal Service. It’s unclear how the package to CNN was delivered and there have been reports that it may have been delivered via a courier even though there were stamps on the package. It is also believed that the package that was received at George Soros’s home was delivered by someone rather than sent via the USPS.

As of the time I’m writing this post, this brings the grand total of packages that have been intercepted by law enforcement or received by the recipient to nine, and the fact that there were additional packages found today raises the strong possibility that there could be others out there. So far, there is no indication as to who may be behind these packages, or what their motive may be. However, the fact that, to date, all of the packages have been sent to political and media figures who have been critical of the President is quite possibly a strong indication of a potential political motivation and it isn’t too far of a stretch to say that the President’s own rhetoric, and that of his supporters, bears at least some of the blame for creating an environment in which someone who is likely already mentally unbalanced would take steps like this. That being said, it is still far too early in the investigation to definitively state who is responsible or why they did it. Hopefully, law enforcement will be able to break the case open quickly and bring the person or persons responsible into custody.

Update: Law enforcement has confirmed a second device addressed to Vice-President Biden was found in Wilmington, Delaware:

This makes for ten devices delivered to eight different people:

  1. George Soros
  2. Barack Obama
  3. Hillary Clinton
  4. CNN (addressed to John Brennan but sent to CNN’s New York office)
  5. Eric Holder (misaddressed and intercepted at the Florida office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz)
  6. Rep. Maxine Water (sent to her Washington D.C. office but intercepted)
  7. Rep. Maxine Waters (sent to her California office but intercepted)
  8. Robert DeNiro
  9. Joe Biden (intercepted in New Castle, DE)
  10. Joe Biden (intercepted in Wilmington, DE)

If there are more devices out there, we’ll likely know soon.

Update #2 (10/26/2018): A 56-year-old Florida man named Cesar Sayoc, who perhaps not surprisingly is a strong Trump supporter, has been arrested and charged in connection with this case.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Law and the Courts, Politicians, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. James Pearce says:

    That one of these packages was sent to DeNiro indicates we may be dealing with a “not guilty by reason of insanity” defense…

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  2. An Interested Party says:

    …it isn’t too far of a stretch to say that the President’s own rhetoric, and that of his supporters, bears at least some of the blame for creating an environment in which someone who is likely already mentally unbalanced would take steps like this.

    While being absolutely true, the trolls aren’t going to like that line…

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  3. @James Pearce:

    DeNiro has been a prominent and vocal critic of Trump.

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  4. Crusty Dem says:

    I’ve already read one alternative take that it has to be a “democrat false flag” because the return address is Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s office.

    #headdesk

  5. James Pearce says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    DeNiro has been a prominent and vocal critic of Trump.

    Sure, but DeNiro’s is certainly the weirdest name on the list. President, vice-president, former sec of state and presidential nominee, some congresspeople…and a 75-year old actor. It’s just bizarre.

    A very disorganized crime for an apparently very disorganized thinker.

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  6. Michael Reynolds says:

    DeNiro isn’t the outlier, John Brennan is.

    Every target with the exception of Brennan is a Clintonista, a mainstream Democrat. The dogs that didn’t bark are Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Why weren’t they targeted?

    At this point I think there’s a pretty good chance this is a Bernie Bro. 50% Trumpie, 40% Bernie Bro, 10% something we haven’t thought of.

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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Pearce:

    A very disorganized crime for an apparently very disorganized thinker.

    Just what one would expect from a follower of a very disorganized president. 😉

    The return addresses are DWS’ office but I want to know where the postal cancellations are from. If they are from all over, say the Eastern seaboard, we are dealing with more than one individual. If they are all the same city but different zipcodes, that’s the obvious place to start combing video from the days the packages were mailed (if the mailboxes have cameras on them, I’m assuming whoever did this isn’t a complete idiot and mail them at the desk).

  8. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Trump tweeted this morning:

    Donald J. Trump
    @realDonaldTrump

    A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News. It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!
    5:18 AM – Oct 25, 2018

    So, it’s not his fault. It’s the fault of people that report the hateful things that the President says.

    So… they should report what he meant, not what he said?

    Or better yet, just all become Fox news and report whatever flits through the free-association-stream of Trump consciousness with non-stop glowing admiration.

    Germany. 1938.

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  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    So… they should report what he meant, not what he said?

    I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if what he means is worse than what he says.

  10. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    It’s too early to even speculate, given what isn’t yet known. Let the investigation run and then we’ll see.

    For instance, if the choice of targets is indicative of identity, the perpetrator(s) could purposefully omit some obvious targets and/or add non-obvious ones.

  11. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    #MAGAbomber

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  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kathy:
    I don’t think it’s ever too early to speculate so long as one has an open mind. Sure, it’s possible a Trumpie would leave off Warren to throw shade on the Bernistas. But that seems rather clever and I’ve made more mistakes overestimating the intelligence of an opponent than by underestimating it.

    If a Trumpie did this he’s almost certainly looking for the approval of his cult leader, a metaphorical pat on the head and a doggie biscuit, and that would argue for including Trump’s number 1 hate object. But if it’s a Bernie Bro playing at anarchy the list makes sense but for Brennan who, so far as I know, has not trashed the Bernistas.

    Why Brennan? Why not Warren? Those are the outliers to me at this point. Them and Debbie Wasserman Schultz who is hated every Bernie Bro, but is not much of a Trump target.

  13. Kari Q says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    What makes De Niro a logical target of a Bernista? Did he campaign for Hillary?

  14. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kari Q:
    Yep. But he’s also a Trump hate object, which is why the greater issue to me is Warren.

  15. Modulo Myself says:

    @Michael Reynolds: De Niro being on this list makes me think whoever did it started it planning some time ago. Warren is relatively recent. Regardless of motives I’m confident that the person is inflexible. The plan begins and it shall be followed.

    Also Soros. He’s completely an obsession of the right.

  16. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    There’s absolutely no reason to think Warren simply hasn’t received her package yet.
    Frankly…I’m insulted that I haven’t gotten one…

  17. @Michael Reynolds:

    I am certain that law enforcement has been going through a list of prominent Trump critics and checking in with them or with post offices in the area where they live or have an office.

  18. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    If Warren and/or Bernie are targeted that makes it a Trumpie for sure. And I still think that’s the more likely case.

  19. Tyrell says:

    @James Pearce: “A very disorganized crime by a disorganized thinker”: maybe that is what they want everyone to think.

  20. James Pearce says:

    My De Niro comments did not merit so many downvotes…

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  21. Franklin says:

    If this is a false flag, it’s a hella one.

  22. charon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    At this point I think there’s a pretty good chance this is a Bernie Bro. 50% Trumpie, 40% Bernie Bro, 10% something we haven’t thought of.

    I am going to draw an inference here and assume confirmation bias – as in, you just do not like Bernie’s supporters. I too do not like them, but, as I explained in the older thread, I think the indications are overwhelming that this is a Trump supporting RWNJ.

  23. James Pearce says:

    @Tyrell:

    maybe that is what they want everyone to think.

    None of the packages have detonated and one of them was sent to Robert DeNiro.

    If we’re dealing with a super villain here, it’s Dr. Evil not Ted Kaczinski.

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  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    @charon:
    I don’t do confirmation bias, Charon. If it were confirmation bias I’d be sure it was a RWNJ because while I am not a fan of Bernie’s crazier supporters, it’s nothing close to the utter contempt I have for Trumpies. If I were voting my emotions it would be 90/10. And if I were voting my political hopes it’d be 100/0. There is no scenario in which this being a Bernie Bro is good for me or for ‘my side.’ In fact, if it is a Bernista it’s a very, very bad thing for all of us.

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  25. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @charon:
    @Michael Reynolds:
    I think Brennan, Waters, and De Niro take it out of the Bernie Bros arena.

  26. charon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    So your explanation of someone not an extreme RWNJ being familiar with the following right-wing in-joke would be??

    https://twitter.com/elzosmid/status/1055234351368232960/photo/1 .

    According to the FBI this morning, the ISIS sticker is the above image, which is basically a piss take of the real ISIS flag that has been doing the rounds on social media,courtesy of a right wing comedian, since 2014.
    0 replies 1 retweet 3 likes

    I’ll stick with Occam’s Razor to draw the appropriate inference.

  27. LTMcDies says:

    @James Pearce: maybe they haven’t gone off because so far, it does not appear any have been just ripped open they most of us just “rip open” a package.

    the packages have, at least this is my understanding, been intercepted before opening.

  28. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: @charon:
    I still think RWNJ is the likelier answer. But I don’t think it’s a slam dunk. DeNiro is a Clinton supporter as is Waters. Brennan fits the RWNJ profile and not the Bernistas, while Debbie Wasserman Schultz is much more hated by Bernie people than by Trumpies. The Git ‘Er Done definitely suggests a RWNJ. The absence of Warren suggests otherwise.

    The point being that maybe we should inject a note of caution. Interestingly, Rachel Maddow did just that last night with a long peroration on the possibility of mixed motives in bombings. I don’t think she had any data, but she’s a smart woman with good instincts and if she’s tapping the brakes it makes me think.

    Sorry, but I don’t analyze anything with an eye to fitting my preferred narrative. If anything I probably bend too far the other way – I am a fiction writer, after all, and I could give you 20 scenarios without breaking a sweat. But I have to call it as I see it, and to me there is a real possibility this is a non-RWNJ action.

    Hopefully we’ll know soon.

  29. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    It’s fun to speculate…but the truth is we have no idea who did this and why. I’m pretty sure the person has a red hat. It could be a false flag, I suppose.
    What we do know is that it has once again been proven beyond a shadow of doubt that Dennison is not fit to hold the office. He said this more that if the media doesn’t treat him right, they should watch out…yes, he posed this threat AFTER 10 functioning bombs had been delivered.
    Think about it…..
    Someone attempted to assassinate 2 former Presidents, a former Sec. of State, a former CIA Director, a former AG, a sitting Representative to Congress, and a bunch of other people. And the response from the POTUS is to blame and threaten the media. Why? Because the media reports facts that don’t jive with Dennison’s near-constant lying; because they don’t kiss his fat orange ass they are the enemy of the people. It’s up to the press to unify the country, presumably by lining up behind his fallacies and pretending he is an honest man.
    #MAGAbomber.

  30. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Everyone does confirmation bias. You aren’t so smart that you don’t fall for traps in human intelligence.

    It’s probably a Trumpy Right Winger. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be a Bernie Bro, but it’s probably a Trumpy Right Winger.

    Or Al Pacino, with all the political people being red herrings to try to hide his plan to kill Robert Diniro.

  31. James Pearce says:

    @LTMcDies:

    the packages have, at least this is my understanding, been intercepted before opening.

    From the mad bomber’s perspective, that’s pretty much a “worst case scenario,” innit?

  32. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James Pearce:

    You need to understand that people reflexively downvote YOU, not necessarily your comments (although they usually merit it on their own substance).

    The well is irrevocably poisoned where you’re concerned. You broke it; you own it.

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  33. James Pearce says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    people reflexively downvote YOU

    Yeah, no kidding….

    You broke it; you own it.

    No. I am not responsible for how any of you act. When people are being unfair to me, they own it.

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  34. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Spare me the attempt to paint yourself as an honest broker. You wanted the mantle of contrarian / concern troll. You wanted to play that role, and you do play it.

    Now you get to wear it. Whingeing about people being “unfair to you” literally generated an eyeroll.

    Honest brokers deserve fair. Hal deserves fair.

    You deserve downvotes and derision, so that’s what you receive. You should get used to it.

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  35. James Pearce says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    You deserve downvotes and derision, so that’s what you receive. You should get used to it.

    I am used to it, dude. You think my daily encounters with the “Decent People of the Left” have had no effect on my thinking?

  36. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James Pearce:

    I think you’re playing the same role you’ve always played in your performance piece (and that is what this is – you aren’t fooling anybody). You just don’t care for being called on that. Your thinking, such as it is, is directed at disrupting the debate, not towards contributing to it.

    I’m frankly amazed that you believe it’s less transparent than it actually is.

  37. Eric Florack says:

    Guys, you can forget about it being any Republicans.
    After many years of watching sports I can tell you that the trend is that teams that are winning don’t run trick plays…..

  38. James Pearce says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I think you’re playing the same role you’ve always played

    I’m always amused when a pseudonym accuses me of playing some role…

    @Eric Florack:

    Guys, you can forget about it being any Republicans.

    What are you going to say when the bomber is found to be a right-wing Trump supporter, which –all jokes aside– is the likeliest scenario?

  39. mattbernius says:

    @Eric Florack:

    After many years of watching sports I can tell you that the trend is that teams that are winning don’t run trick plays…..

    Sigh, as always your memory doesn’t match facts. For example: Patriots and deflated balls?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deflategate

    But facts have never stopped you before.