FBI seizes package intended for CNN, says it matches others

FBI seizes package intended for CNN, says it matches others

By Zachary Fagenson

(Reuters) - Authorities on Monday intercepted a suspicious package addressed to CNN's Atlanta headquarters, which was similar in appearance to those containing 14 pipe bombs mailed to some of U.S. President Donald Trump's leading critics last week, the FBI said.

The latest package was intercepted at an Atlanta post office, CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker said in a post on Twitter.

The FBI's Atlanta bomb squad and other law enforcement personnel responded after being notified by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, an FBI spokesman, Kevin Rowson, said in a statement.

Zucker said there was no imminent danger. Since a pipe bomb turned up at CNN's New York office in the Time Warner Center last week, forcing the building's evacuation, all mail to the network has been screened offsite, he said.

News of the latest package surfaced with just over a week to go in highly charged campaigns across the nation leading up to Nov. 6 elections, in which Democrats are battling to seize control of a Congress now held by Trump's Republican Party.

Tensions prompted by the pipe bombs ratcheted up even further after a gunman opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday, killing 11 worshipers while yelling "All Jews must die."

Last week's bombs were sent to a range of prominent Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, and other frequent targets of Trump's scorn, including CNN.

Those bombs were sent in manila envelopes lined with bubble wrap and consisted of plastic 6-inch (15-cm) pipes packed with explosive material and wired to small clocks and batteries, a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan said.

Cesar Sayoc, a former male stripper and part-time pizza deliveryman accused of mailing those bombs, was due to make his first appearance in a Miami courtroom on Monday afternoon.

Sayoc, 56, is charged with five felony counts: interstate transportation and illegal mailing of explosives, threatening a former president, making threatening interstate communications and assaulting federal officers.

The case is expected to be moved to New York, where he will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office there, officials said.

A public defender listed as Sayoc's attorney of record in New York, Sarah Baumgartel, did not respond to requests for comment.

Sayoc, a New York native, has been held without bond since his arrest in south Florida on Friday by federal agents following a four-day nationwide manhunt for the person who sent the homemade pipe bombs to Trump critics, who also included former Secretary of State and first lady Hillary Clinton, whom Trump defeated in the 2016 presidential race. [nL2N1X6095]

Trump's supporters have accused Democrats of unfairly suggesting the president was to blame for the bomb scares. Trump himself accused the press of using coverage of the investigation to score political points against him.

Sayoc, a registered Republican, has railed on social media against Democrats, Muslims and liberals in Facebook and Twitter posts.

Public records show that Sayoc has numerous arrests over the years for domestic violence, theft and other charges, including an alleged bomb threat against a utility company.

He was arrested outside an auto parts store in Plantation, Florida, near Miami. Authorities also seized a white van that Sayoc appeared to live in.

The van's windows were plastered with pro-Trump stickers, the slogan "CNN SUCKS" and images of Democratic leaders with red crosshairs over their faces.

The complaint accused Sayoc of sending 13 bombs to 11 individuals, starting with billionaire Democratic donor George Soros. A package surfaced on Monday near his home in Katonah, New York.

A 14th package was found on Friday at a post office outside San Francisco addressed to another wealthy contributor to the Democratic Party and liberal causes, Tom Steyer.

All were sent through the Postal Service and intercepted before reaching their intended targets without exploding. No one has been hurt.

(Additional reporting by Nick Carey; writing by Rich McKay; editing by Nick Macfie and Jonathan Oatis)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.


Updated Date: Oct 30, 2018 01:06 AM

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