Suspicious Packages Sent To Clintons, Obamas, And CNN Investigated By Law Enforcement

Four suspicious packages addressed to prominent political and media figures have been intercepted in the past three days.

The Secret Service is reporting that it has intercepted suspicious packages that may or may not be explosive devices that were sent to former Presidents and First Ladies Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack and Michelle Obama, and a third package sent to CNN’s offices in New York City is being investigated by the New York City Police Department:

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.

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.

More from The Washington Post:

The Secret Service said Wednesday that 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.

The devices were recovered not long after an explosive device was found in a mailbox at the Bedford, N.Y., home of George Soros, the liberal philanthropist who is a frequent target of criticism from far-right groups.

“The packages were immediately identified during routine mail screening procedures as potential explosive devices and were appropriately handled as such,” the Secret Service said in a statementWednesday. “The protectees did not receive the packages nor were they at risk of receiving them.”

The Secret Service said the package addressed to the Chappaqua, N.Y., home of Clinton and former president Bill Clinton was recovered late Tuesday. The package sent to Obama’s Washington home was intercepted early Wednesday, authorities said. Clinton and Obama representatives were not immediately available for comment.

The devices sent to Clinton and Obama 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 on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. Based on the timing and the material, law enforcement officials suspect the same person is behind all three devices, and officials are scrambling to determine if any other such devices were sent to anyone.

Soros, an 88-year-old holocaust survivor, has funneled much of his fortune into liberal projects around the world, making him a frequent target of rhetoric on the right.

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

In addition to the packages that were intercepted on their way to the Clintons and Obamas, the New York City Police Department is investigating a suspicious package at the New York City headquarters of CNN and the entire building where those offices are located has been evacuated as a precautionary measure. These reports come just two days after a suspicious package that appears to have been an explosive device was discovered outside the home of George Soros, the wealthy financier who is a well-known funder of liberal political causes and has been a target of conservative pundits and the President for years now. At this time there is no information who may have been behind the planting of the Soros device, but initial reports are quoting law enforcement sources as saying that the composition of the devices sent to the Clintons and Obamas was similar to the one sent to Soros. It’s unknown at this point if the CNN incident is related to all of this, or if this is just another “suspicious package” alert that will turn out to be nothing. One thing that is apparently known about the device left outside Soros’s home was not sent through the mail or a package delivery service was not mailed but was apparently physically placed in the mailbox by someone.  It’s not clear if this is the case with regard to the devices sent to the Clintons and Obamas or the device at CNN’s headquarters. It’s also being reported that the devices sent to Soros, Clinton, and Obama all had a return address but that address has not been disclosed and it is likely that it is not a genuine address in any case.

With respect to the packages that were sent to the Clintons and Obamas, none of the parties were in any danger at the time due to the fact that the packages were intercepted as part of the Secret Services mail screening process. Additionally, Hillary Clinton is apparently not in Chappaqua this morning, although it has not been confirmed where former President Clinton might be today. It’s also unknown if either former President Obama or his wife were at their Washington, D.C. home at the time the package was discovered, although it’s likely that their youngest daughter and Mrs. Obama’s mother were likely home at the time. Again, though, it should be stressed that the packages never made it anywhere close to the Clinton or Obama homes. In the Soros case, the package was apparently opened by an employee of Mr. Soros who then called the police. The circumstances of how the CNN device was discovered is unknown at this time.

In any event, that’s all we know at this point, though I’m sure there will be updates to this information as the day goes on. Therefore, this post will be updated as warranted.

Update: It is being reported that a package addressed to former Attorney General Eric Holder has also been intercepted:

And New York Governor Andrew Cuomo just stated on live television that his New York City office received a suspicious package apparently similar to those sent to the other locations:

By my count that makes for at least six suspicious packages/devices so far.

Finally, a package appears to have been sent to Congresswoman Maxine Waters:

Update #2: Law enforcement is now saying that the package sent to Governor Cuomo was not connected to the other packages.

In the meantime, there have been several responses from the White House:

Trump supporters on Twitter, meanwhile, have jumped on the idea that this is all a “false flag operation”

The apparently coordinated mailing of explosive devices to Democratic party leaders and CNN studios let to a flurry of stories trying to make sense of a still fluid story, and will almost certainly launch a thousand predictable long-form think pieces about the dangers of heated political rhetoric.

The best essays will come after a period of reflection as the reporting of the nuts and bolts of a still-unfolding story begins to emerge, but there appears to be at least one political province of commentators who have made a quick assessment of the multiple mailings of explosive devices: #MAGA Twitter.

The most loyal defenders of President Donald Trump’s administration appear to think that this coordinated story is made of whole cloth; that it’s simply a hoax or “October Surprise” designed to gin up fear in the run-up to the midterm elections less than two weeks away.

It takes all kinds folks

Update #3: (10/25/2018) Two more packages, addressed to actor Robert DeNiro and former Vice-President Joe Biden have been intercepted.

Update #4: (10/26/2018) Three more packages, address to Senator Cory Booker, Senator Kamala Harris, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have been intercepted.

Update #5: 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: Barack Obama, Crime, Hillary Clinton, 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. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Too soon to know anything for fact…but I’m willing to bet that it’s a white christian male with a red hat.

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The White House too.

    eta: or maybe not.

  3. mattbernius says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Apparently not:

    CLARIFICATION: At this time the Secret Service has intercepted TWO suspicious packages – one in NY and one in D.C. Reports of a third intercepted package addressed to the WH are incorrect. We refer media to our statement: https://bit.ly/2R8jYYn
    source: https://twitter.com/SecretService/status/1055113750544633861

    Of course, this is all fluid and could change.

  4. Mikey says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The Secret Service just tweeted that reports of a package sent to the White House are incorrect.

    https://twitter.com/SecretService/status/1055113750544633861

  5. Mikey says:

    @mattbernius: Beat me by a minute, damn you…haha…

  6. PJ says:

    Trump got angry because he didn’t get a package, so he sent one to himself.

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  7. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    It’s clear that we need a total and complete lockdown of white christian men, in red hats, in the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.

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  8. charon says:

    Pretty much the entire right-wing media has concluded these must be false flag ops by lefties because of course they are.

  9. charon says:

    @mattbernius:

    To Clintons and Obamas.

  10. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Now Debbie Wasserman-Schultz…according to the Sunrise, FL police.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:
  12. Franklin says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Could be. Could also be a false flag. Whoever it is is a douche.

    I’m impressed that the White House condemned it, but I realize that’s slightly different than Trump condemning it.

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  13. Joe says:

    @Franklin:

    I assume SHS condemned it on behalf of the WH because that was essentially a non-discretionary, obvious if not required response, which she hustled out the door before anyone above her (POTUS) could suggest any different message. But maybe I am just cynical.

  14. Kathy says:

    @charon:

    Pretty much the entire right-wing media has concluded these must be false flag ops by lefties because of course they are.

    These types cases tend to cause over-caution and hysteria. Expect lots of “suspicious” packages to be reported in the coming days, most of which will turn out to be nothing even remotely malicious. But these will reinforce the belief among some that they were all innocent packages in a false flag operation.

    You may all recall that on 9/11 there were reports of car and truck bombs elsewhere in Washington D.C. and other locations. These reports were mistaken or false. But that doesn’t mean there were no attacks that day.

    All that aside, it’s too soon to tell what’s going on, whether there’s some kind of coordinated campaign, or there’s some nut loose (like the unabomber).

  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    Make a list of Trump’s rally hate objects.

    Now make a list of people targeted by bombs.

    One thing jumps out: Elizabeth Warren better be careful opening her mail. This is Trump-inspired terrorism.

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  16. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    CNN is reporting that the package sent to them was addressed to John Brennan.

  17. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    The San Diego Tribune Building, where Kamela Harris’s office is located, is being evacuated.

  18. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I’m waiting for the WH to issue a statement saying the President has never incited or advocated violence.

  19. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Now Gov. Cuomo.

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  20. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    So, as of right now:
    Soros
    Clinton
    Obama
    CNN (addressed to Brennan)
    Wasserman-Schultz’s office
    Kamela Harris’s office
    Eric Holder
    Andrew Cuomo

    Anyone notice a pattern?.

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  21. PJ says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Anyone notice a pattern?.

    Yes, as already pointed out by Michael Reynolds, Elizabeth Warren isn’t on it.
    She should probably be questioned or maybe just be sent to Gitmo.

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  22. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Now a package intercepted by Capital Police addressed to Maxine Waters.

  23. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @PJ:

    She should probably be questioned or maybe just be sent to Gitmo.

    You should probably move to Russia or Saudi Arabia or North Korea, or some other country where they don’t have…you know…a Constitution.

  24. PJ says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    The Constitution? Trump will take care of that nuisance…

  25. Guarneri says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    To coin a phrase: “It takes all kinds.”

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  26. Guarneri says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    yes. None of them went off.

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  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Your Snark-O-Meter seems to be broken (or maybe mine is, hard to say). I suspect this would be a warranty repair, so you might want to have it checked.

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Guarneri: Did you plead for leniency for the Menendez brothers because they were orphans, too?

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  29. Kathy says:

    [..]acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America

    Good. Does that mean Trump will stop making threats and inciting violence against his political rivals?

    Yeah, I didn’t think so.

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  30. PJ says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Your Snark-O-Meter seems to be broken (or maybe mine is, hard to say). I suspect this would be a warranty repair, so you might want to have it checked.

    His is having some issues.

  31. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Guarneri:
    Creep.

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  32. becca says:

    Back in 2009 DHS issued a report on the rise of right-wing violence for law enforcement eyes only. I believe the author is a chap named Johnson.
    Reportedly, it was leaked to “conservative” media by, reportedly, none other than MitchieMcC, and much self-righteous indignation and bellowing ensued by the usual snowflakes and grifters.

    MitchieMcC was already busy court-stacking right-wing judges and nothing, but nothing, would stand in his way. He’s worse than Trump in many ways.

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  33. Pylon says:

    This obviously has nothing to do with a president who calls the press the “enemy of the people”, encourages anger towards reporters at his rallies, cheers a politician who assaulted a reporter, accuses political opponents of hoaxes, threatens to jail them, and who refuses to acknowledge violence by his supporters.

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  34. Gustopher says:

    While @Guarneri is generally morally challenged, he is right that none of these have gone off.

    We don’t know whether this is due to incompetence in someone attempting violence or whether it is someone who wants to threaten violence.

    It’s definitionally terrorism either way, and should be condemned and not excused with “but none went off — there’s no Nobel prize for attempted chemistry”, but it is an important distinction. We will probably have more answers in a day or so.

  35. MarkedMan says:

    At least in the cases that it was mentioned, it appears the envelopes weren’t opened but rather screened out using equipment meant to detect explosives.

  36. Kari Q says:

    I hope they continue to catch them and no one is hurt. I am sure that a lot of boxes of office supplies and purchases from Amazon and ebay will be examined by the police over the next few weeks as well.

    I can’t help indulging a game of “who else…” Beto O’Rourke? Kamala Harris? Joe Biden?

  37. Stormy Dragon says:

    I agree wholeheartedly!

    Anyone else think this sounds way more like something an aide would write on Trumps account for him than something Trump would write himself?

  38. Hal_10000 says:

    @charon:

    Pretty much the entire right-wing media has concluded these must be false flag ops by lefties because of course they are.

    I always love the way this works.

    1) Idiot RWers light gateway talk about this being a false flag.
    2) The vast majority ignore that noise and concentrate on the real story.
    3) We’re told the *entire* ring wing, all of it, has decided it’s a false flag.

    The simultaneity of the attacks makes me think we’re dealing with a lone Right Wing nut here, someone in the Eric Rudolph mold. I’m reminded a bit of the anthrax attacks. I suspect there will be more of them showing up. Hopefully, they can track it down before someone is killed.

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  39. An Interested Party says:

    Anyone else think this sounds way more like something an aide would write on Trumps account for him than something Trump would write himself?

    Indeed…any other time, he has diarrhea of the little fingers, but not this time…

    @Hal_10000: Of course it isn’t the entire right-wing, but it’s certainly more than just a tiny fringe

  40. JohnMcC says:

    @charon: Little known fact: There was a thorough investigation of the Reichstag Fire. You know who they convicted? Three Bulgarian communists. Couldn’t possibly have been anyone associated with the Nazis now, could it?

    So many false flags flying.

  41. Kathy says:

    Trump has a rally today. We’ll see if he can dial it down for one day at least.

  42. Guarneri says:

    @Gustopher:

    I consider ad hominums a badge of honor coming from the zeros here. If you had a clue you would have surmised that my point was what is emerging from people who know bombs. That the “bombs” are being described as somewhere between toys and and the creation of the Ted Mack Amateur Hour. As in, they weren’t really designed to go off.

    That said, the best course of action is to wait until the facts come in. But. What did we hear from Trump and Pence? Unequivocal condemnation. What have we heard from Democrat politicians? It’s Trumps fault. Keep it classy, Democrats.

    You do know that rhetoric is going to backfire like all the other cheap shots the left has engaged in for two years. Right?

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  43. Jen says:

    Unequivocal condemnation

    Not quite. He somehow managed to attempt to blame the media…again. Which is part of the problem with his rhetoric. He accepts no responsibility for the climate that he helped to foster, but hey, looky there, let’s blame the same punching bag, “the media.”

    I’ll wait for a few days on the explosive capability/intent, because the experts *I’ve* seen interviewed appear to fall on the side of “crude, but workable.” No one but the FBI has close access to them, so expert commentary is (as can be expected) all over the place.

    @Kari Q: CNN is reporting that a package potentially similar to the ones discovered today was returned to sender after being sent to an old address of Joe Biden’s.

  44. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Guarneri:
    What is the matter with you? Even if you don’t think some MAGArat’s behind this, what is the matter with you that you think political terrorism in the United States is funny?

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  45. An Interested Party says:

    So Trump comes out with this tonight:

    “The media also has a responsibility to set a civil tone and to stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks and stories,” Trump told a rally crowd in Mosinee, Wisconsin. “They’ve gotta stop. Bring people together.”

    Wow…the least self-aware president ever…

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  46. Mister Bluster says:

    The Goon thinks “grab them by the pussy” is funny and that “the press is the enemy of the people” is constructive political discourse.
    What do you expect?

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  47. Kylopod says:

    @Mister Bluster: Such a nasty media…

  48. Mister Bluster says:

    test

  49. Mister Bluster says:
  50. Eric Florack says:

    A few things to consider…

    First off who sends pipe bombs in the mail to somebody that doesn’t open their own mail?

    To my mind this comes down to the question of “who is going to benefit the most by sending devices that won’t work?”

    There’s an additional bit of logic here too.

    let’s just for a moment imagine that we have a right-wing crazy sending this stuff out. Does anybody really think he’s going to give a crap about killing somebody? No, that would be the precise intent.

    The left, meanwhile, is not going to want to see harm their team, either physically or politically.so the packages are constructed so that they will never bloody well go off.

    What we have here is a false flag.
    And given the extent to which we have seen Democrats using every dirty trick in the book these last several months, years, decades, personally I wouldn’t put it past them

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  51. Eric Florack says:

    One more thing. The reason we know that these bombs were sent by democrats is that none of them worked.

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  52. Gustopher says:

    @Guarneri:

    I consider ad hominums a badge of honor coming from the zeros here.

    You’re a pedophile. And bad in bed.

    (Note to moderators: I’m honoring him!)

    If you had a clue you would have surmised that my point was what is emerging from people who know bombs. That the “bombs” are being described as somewhere between toys and and the creation of the Ted Mack Amateur Hour. As in, they weren’t really designed to go off.

    It’s often difficult to tell if you have a point, beyond scoring points in your head.

    We don’t know what was in the head of the individual who did this. I think it is very possible that the bombs were meant to just be a threat of violence rather than actual violence. But, it’s also entirely likely that the terrorist was simply incompetent.

    What did we hear from Trump and Pence? Unequivocal condemnation.

    Not so much, actually.

    What have we heard from Democrat politicians? It’s Trumps fault. Keep it classy, Democrats.

    Given that President “Lock Her Up!” is declaring that the Democrats are enemies of the people on a regular basis during his “90 minutes of rambling hate” rallies, the likelihood that he has roused up a lunatic is high. At the very least, he shouldn’t be rousing up lunatics.

    The right wing wants to paint this as a “both sides” issue, claiming that leftist mobs are not treating their betters with respect when they encounter them in the wild.

    I will say that people are not treating Republican Senators and politicians with the respect and dignity they deserve — they should be treated like women attempting to enter a planned parenthood. The leftist mobs should be screaming at the top of their lungs, stopping right before prosecutable assault, and forcing them to run a gauntlet. Photographing their cars, putting their license plates online and their personal addresses.

    I think Democrats should stop short of death threats and violence though. We should be better than you people.

    That said, if the reports of the return address being Debbie Wasserman-Schultz are accurate, I would not be surprised if these acts of terrorism was the work of an enraged Bernie Bro. The Soros mailbomb has the hallmark of the right though.

    You do know that rhetoric is going to backfire like all the other cheap shots the left has engaged in for two years. Right?

    Your kind broke this country. You made “compromise” a disgraceful word. When you and your ilk are depending on the blue state liberals to pay the bulk of federal taxes, that seems like a mistake. Minority rule only works long term when you don’t rub people’s noses in it.

    Short term, you have your Trump. Long term, a whole lot of the left is willing to let you drown in your own feces, and your base is old people who need health care, and people in the taker states. Does that seem like a good idea?

    Especially when a large part of the Republican base wants a smaller federal government which is bailing out your trailer trash compatriots in the shit states. If you’re not careful, you might get that smaller government you said you wanted.

    I know, you claim to be a successful businessman, a wheeler and dealer, but first, no one really believes that, and second you aren’t immune to the backlash of your actions and statements. You’ll have a choice of living in a liberal hellhole, or a literal hellhole.

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  53. Kari Q says:

    Another one being reported, this time addressed to Robert De Niro. DeNiro? Okay, I didn’t expect that.

  54. charon says:

    A lie often repeated becomes reality.

    So the right media have been “flooding the zone” with the notion the bombs are false flag ops by lefties. Some of the “evidence” would be the fake “ISIS” flags taped to the bombs.

    Example:

    Fake flag
    Per NBC News:

    An image on the explosive device sent to former CIA Director John Brennan on Tuesday appears to be a parody of an ISIS flag taken from a meme that has been circulating on right-wing corners of the internet since 2014.

    The print-out appears to show a parody flag that replaces Arabic characters with the silhouette of three women in high heels, and a middle inscription reading “Get ‘Er Done” — which is the catchphrase of standup comedian Larry the Cable Guy….

    The “Get ‘Er Done” flag was originally created in 2014 by the right-wing parody site World News Bureau, for an article titled “ISIS Vows Retribution For Counterfeit Flags.” It has since been shared as a meme on right-wing websites and forums….

    Here is what Steve M. says about that over at NMMNB:

    NMMNB

    I’m a lefty who’s been lurking at right-wing sites for many years, and I’ve never seen this. It’s not just a joke right-wingers enjoy — it’s an extremely deep cut. Most lefties know a few right-wing in-jokes, some of us know a few more, but this is very obscure.

    At the same time, it’s not a blatantly right-wing message. It’s not overtly Republican or Trumpy at all. If you were a lefty faking a series of right-wing bombs and you wanted to send a sign that you were a genuine right-winger, wouldn’t you be much more likely to include a “Make America Great Again” flag, or the still-popular Tea Party “Don’t Tread on Me” snake flag, or maybe something with “Molon Labe” on it, or Pepe the Frog? Maybe, if you wanted to be really contemporary, you’d include a reference to NPC. But why this?

    None the less, the “lefty false flag” meme has become so ubiquitus it’s going to have an impact, which will last even after the perp gets caught, given the way gullible minds work.

  55. charon says:

    @Gustopher:

    That said, if the reports of the return address being Debbie Wasserman-Schultz are accurate, I would not be surprised if these acts of terrorism was the work of an enraged Bernie Bro

    John Brennan seems a pretty obscure target to get the attention of a BernieBro, but Trump has been railing against Brennan a lot. The whole list of targets seems pretty Trumpy.

  56. charon says:

    @charon:

    Occam’s Razor is probabilistic, but it’s a reasonable working theory, and Occam’s Razor says obscure right-wing in jokes come from someone who is really engaged in the right-wing cultishness.

  57. An Interested Party says:

    What we have here is a false flag.

    The reason we know that these bombs were sent by democrats is that none of them worked.

    Amazing how the invaders disappeared off the headlines today! Build the Wall!

    It’s funny how the usual trolls use all the same lines from their fellow travelers in the right-wing fever swamps…a pity that they can’t come up with their own new material…

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  58. charon says:

    In regard to the “lefty false flag” meme the righties have been pushing, here is something I found over at LGM, why bogus stuff works even after it’s debunked:

    Scholars Oliver Hahl, Minjae Kim, and Ezra W. Zickerman Sivan, in “The Authentic Appeal of the Lying Demagogue,” explain that those who want to destroy the “political establishment” willingly embrace a liar because they understand that the lies themselves serve a destructive purpose. The people who want to destroy the political establishment today are those who are threatened by growing diversity. Trump’s lies work toward that end.

    In a totalitarian regime, state-controlled media normalizes the leader’s constantly changing stories, which serves to further obliterate any notion of a shared truth. Trump’s favorite news outlets similarly normalize his changing stories, thereby undermining factuality. When people can no longer sort out what is factual and what was invented, they conclude that the truth is unknowable. It’s the ultimate in relativism and skepticism. Without facts and a shared reality, jury verdicts have no meaning, and the results of law enforcement investigations are easily manipulated or even dismissed.

  59. Tyrell says:

    @Guarneri: None went off: were they even intended to go off?
    Obvious phony addresses: why no attempt to be more concealing?
    I would like to see their profile of the unsub.

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  60. Kathy says:

    The best way for the media to do its part in restoring civility, would be to ban any and all reporting on Donald Trump, especially about what he says and does. it would help if Twitter kicked him off the platform.

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  61. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Soros’ was opened by a housekeeper, but that’s the only one I think..

  62. Two more packages, addressed to Robert DeNiro and Joe Biden, were intercepted this morning.

  63. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @One American: Do you have an actual argument to make? Or are gratuitous insults the best your limited intellect can manage?

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  64. Mikey says:

    @charon:

    When people can no longer sort out what is factual and what was invented, they conclude that the truth is unknowable. It’s the ultimate in relativism and skepticism.

    “There’s no proof of anything. There’s no proof of anything.” Trump, October 23, 2018.

  65. Mikey says:

    @Kari Q:

    DeNiro? Okay, I didn’t expect that.

    De Niro’s been a vocal critic of Trump, most notably at this year’s Tony Awards, where he began his introduction of Bruce Springsteen with a hearty “Fuck Trump!”

  66. MarkedMan says:

    I often make the point that arguing with our right wing nut jobs is worse than useless because the only purpose behind their posts is to get a lib-tard to react. They don’t actually process or think about your arguments in a rational way but rather in a purely transactional one. By replying and getting worked up you give them the only thing they value.

    But I suspect arguing with One American goes beyond that, because I strongly suspect it’s a bot. Look at the posts. Relatively short collections of seemingly random right wing nut job memes. They seem to trigger off comments by other posters, but in a tangential way. What do you guys think?

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  67. Michael Reynolds says:

    @charon:
    As I mention on the other thread, the outliers are John Brennan and the two missing pols: Warren and Bernie. If Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren are targeted it’s a Trumpie. If not then I suspect it’s a Bernie Bro.

  68. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: If he’s a bot, my money says he’s a Russian bot. He never makes an actual argument for or against anything, just repeats whatever RWNJ talking point he heard on RusHewittsonofEricHanniTucker. That and tries to insult people.

    ETA and have you ever noticed how he seems to comment only in the early AM? Speaks to a location on the other side of the Atlantic?

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  69. Pylon says:

    The argument that “they didn’t go off” is so weak. First, it’s not clear that they were incapable of being detonated by the perp. It is clear that they were full of explosives because the FBI did detonate at least one for safety purposes. Explosives are inherently dangerous, even if not intended to detonate. And sending someone explosives in the mail is an attempt to intimidate even if they aren’t intended to blow up. It says “I can get at you”. It’s a horse’s head.

  70. JohnMcC says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Just a reminder that Congresswoman Waters was honored with three of these little treasures. Maybe it makes sense to some ‘Bernie Bro’ to triple down on her for reasons I don’t understand but it seems to me that nothing else needs to be known about the targets (at least) to make a Trumpist the bomber.

    Meanwhile – are we really debating where on the left these things come from? Really?

  71. Michael Reynolds says:

    @JohnMcC:
    But why not Warren? That’s what bothers me.

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  72. mattbernius says:

    @Hal_10000:
    I’m sympathetic to your point. However, it would be great if those right-wing moderate politicians took it upon themselves to stop appearing on the shows of people who are pushing the conspiracies.

    Until moderate political types are willing to boycott the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Lou Dobbs then they end up being complicit with perpetuating this behavior.

  73. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: have you ever noticed how he seems to comment only in the early AM

    I’m actually thinking that’s a point against it being a bot, because bots don’t need a time zone. Unless it’s the kind that you just load up with the themes of the day and it goes off and hits a list of sites. Once it’s done, it’s done until a new meme is loaded into it.

  74. Kari Q says:

    @Mikey:

    Yes, I know. But all the other recipients are or were public officials. De Niro is just a famous actor who criticized Trump. He doesn’t fit the pattern.

  75. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: I know most people use bot to mean a computer program designed to spam selected sites, but I use it interchangeably with unthinking humans. Makes for sloppy conversation on my part, but in the end there is really very little difference. I’m pretty sure One Russian is humanoid due to his particular pleasure in singling out certain commenters here for insult. True bots don’t care.

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  76. !munch!the!box!grad! says:

    Michael Reynolds(asshat) says:
    Thursday, October 25, 2018 at 10:36
    @JohnMcC:
    But why not Warren? That’s what bothers me.

    Probably because your leftist cult dropped her like a hot potato
    after the DNA incident….just like Blasey Ford

    GOD you are such a tool!

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  77. al Ameda says:

    @One American:

    Amazing how the invaders disappeared off the headlines today! Build the Wall!

    Well, yes, most people would agree – a breaking story about mailed pipe-bombs to several prominent liberal politicians and public figures is just not news.

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  78. mike the hat says:

    Michael Reynolds(asshat) says:
    Thursday, October 25, 2018 at 10:36
    @JohnMcC:
    But why not Warren? That’s what bothers me.

    Probably because your leftist cult dropped her like a hot potato
    after the DNA incident….just like Blasey Ford too

    GOD you are such a tool!

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  79. Eric Florack says:

    @mike the hat: face it Mike, she’s under the bus which is right where we predicted she would be before the hearings even started.

    And the thing is it was so eminently predictable

  80. Scott O says:

    @Eric Florack:
    What, you found mike the hat’s comment worth replying to but you ignore the fact that he totally ripped off !munch!the!box!grad!’s impressive literary achievement?

  81. charon says:

    @al Ameda:

    The caravan is a nothingburger Fox News keeps flogging to rile up the rubes. Without FNC and the rest of the fever swamps flogging the story thus keeping it “out there” the MSM would not pay much attention to it.

  82. Steve V says:

    @Hal_10000: Sadly this comment hasn’t aged well over the last couple of days.

  83. charon says:

    @Steve V:

    How so? TV machine is telling me 56 YO male in custody, with his van covered in Trumpist looking stickers.

  84. al Ameda says:

    @One American:

    @al Ameda: yes it was a catchy diversion but it won’t work as usual.

    Given that the president fomented this dysfunctional political environment, given that the president recently approved of the Montana congressman who body slammed a reporter, and given that a whacked out right wing nut probably mailed these pipe bombs, given that … who created this diversion?

  85. Steve V says:

    @charon: I was referring to Hal’s statement that the “false flag” theory was a niche theory. As of yesterday, it looked like it had spread all over the right wing. He was on the money with his prediction of who actually did it!