De Niro, Biden among newest pipe bomb addressees

Oct 25, 2018, 8:30 AM | Updated: 8:46 am
Another pipe bomb series is under investigation...
A member of the New York National Guard, center, watches as commuters walk through the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, in New York. A series of pipe bombs sent to prominent Democrats including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has deepened political tensions and fears two weeks before national midterm elections. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Former Vice President Joe Biden and actor and activist Robert De Niro are among the latest prominent Democrats to whom someone has sent a string of pipe bomb packages through the mail.

De Niro’s Tribeca Enterprises says “everyone is safe” after the interception of a suspicious package, apparently containing another crude pipe bomb or similar device, addressed to the actor in New York.

A law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity told the Associated Press that X-ray examination revealed the package contained a device similar to the explosives that were mailed to Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, the former head of the CIA in care of CNN, and others. According to investigators, it appeared to have come from the same sender.

pipe bomb mailings

This Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018 photo shows the United States Postal Service Delaware Processing and Distribution Center in New Castle, Del., Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018. A law enforcement official says a package addressed to former Vice President Joe Biden appears similar to packages containing bombs sent to prominent Democrats and has been intercepted at a Delaware mail facility. The FBI confirms there is law enforcement activity at the U.S. mail facility. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The FBI confirmed there was law enforcement activity at two U.S. mail facilities in Delaware, where another law enforcement official, also speaking anonymously, said packages addressed to Biden were intercepted and bore similarities to the packages addressed to the others.

None of the bombs has detonated, and no one has been hurt, although the package sent to the Time Warner Center in New York, where CNN’s New York City bureau operates, forced the network to evacuate during a live broadcast.

According to the Associated Press, authorities say the pipe bombs intercepted earlier this week, seven in all, were packed with shards of glass, and were seized in New York, Washington, D.C., Florida and California. If the packages sent to De Niro and Biden are determined to be from the same sender, that would bring the total of pipe bomb devices linked to the case to nine.

The targets of the packages, to date, have been some of the figures most frequently criticized by President Donald Trump.

Wednesday, the White House issued a statement through Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders condemning the package mailings.

Thursday morning, President Trump tweeted that “Anger” in society is “caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media.”

pipe bomb packages

President Donald Trump speaks about crude pipe bombs targeting Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, CNN and others, during an event on the opioid crisis, in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The tweet did not specifically refer to the pipe bomb mailings. At a rally in Wisconsin on Wednesday, however, the president took a softer tone, saying, “Let’s get along.”

Former CIA chief John Brennan, the intended recipient of the pipe bomb package mailed to CNN, tweeted criticism for President Trump’s attacks on media and his critics.

pipe bomb

This screenshot from CNN’s Twitter account shows what CNN says is the explosive device that was delivered to their New York headquarters on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. The package sent to CNN contained a live explosive with wires, a black pipe and an envelope with white powder. Officials said the substance was being tested to see if it was dangerous. (CNN Twitter Account via AP)

CNN was also sharply critical of the president, with a statement from CNN President Jeff Zucker that read in part:

There is a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media… The President, and especially the White House Press Secretary, should understand their words matter. Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that.

That statement was met by criticism from Sanders, who tweeted that the president “asked Americans ‘to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the USA’ Yet you chose to attack and divide. America should unite against all political violence.”

Dan Shelley, the executive director of RTDNA, the Radio Television Digital News Association, penned an open letter to all journalists reading in part:

Speaking today at the White House, President Trump said:

In these times we have to unify. We have to come together and send one clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America. This egregious conduct is abhorrent to everything we hold dear and sacred as Americans.

Those words were uttered by the same person who has used harsh rhetoric targeting journalists and political opponents during campaign rallies in an extremely tense and divisive political environment.

It is the responsibility of RTDNA, the world’s largest professional association devoted exclusively to broadcast and digital journalism, to call out the president and those of his supporters who engage in such pomposity aimed at further dividing our country and inflaming hateful ideologies. We must do so even while acknowledging there is currently no indication that whoever is responsible for sending the explosive devices has been inspired in some demented way by words spoken at a political rally or in a campaign ad.

It is the responsibility of the journalists of America to keep their heads down and continue to do the important work to which they were called.

Don’t succumb to intimidation and fear.

Watch your backs, but don’t back down.

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De Niro, Biden among newest pipe bomb addressees