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Suspicious Packages Sent To Clinton, Obama, Time Warner Center


We are following breaking news from New York and also from Washington, D.C., this morning about the discovery of a number of suspicious packages. Two of them were intercepted on their way to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and to former President Barack Obama. And the New York City Police Department is now saying it's investigating a suspicious package that was sent to the building in Manhattan that houses CNN's broadcast center there. Let's turn now to NPR justice correspondent Ryan Lucas who is following this. And, Ryan, what is the latest here?

RYAN LUCAS, BYLINE: Well, the latest is actually out of New York City. And that's where the New York Police Department says it's investigating a suspicious package at 10 Columbus Circle. That is the building that houses CNN's office. The police department's special operations unit that includes an explosive ordinance disposal unit, they are responding. CNN boss Jeff Zucker has told staff that a suspicious package was discovered in the mailroom. The New York office was being evacuated out of an abundance of caution. There aren't any details at this point on the package itself, but NYPD as well as the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are all on the scene investigating, find out as much as they can, of course.

GREENE: Yeah. It's been something to watch, a lot of these CNN journalists who are literally outside like on their phones reporting on this since they've been evacuated from their studios. OK. So we have this suspicious package in New York. This follows earlier announcements about these other potential explosive devices. Catch us up to date on that.

LUCAS: Right. So the Secret Service said this morning in a statement that it intercepted two suspicious packages. One was addressed to Hillary Clinton at her home in Westchester County, N.Y. That one was discovered late last night. And then early this morning, a second one, a second suspicious package addressed to Barack Obama was discovered here in Washington, D.C. Now, both packages were immediately identified as potential explosive devices. This was during routine screening that they were identified. The Secret Service says that neither Clinton nor Obama ever actually had their hands on the packages. They never received them. They were never truly at risk. But still, obviously something of concern that these were addressed to them. The Secret Service is working with the FBI and ATF as well to try to get to the bottom of this.

GREENE: And weren't we already talking about some potential attacks or suspicious packages sent to George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist? Could there be some sort of - related here?

LUCAS: Well, certainly the timing of the package is being sent to Clinton and Obama and CNN as well as, as you mentioned, the explosive device that was discovered this week outside of the home of George Soros certainly raises questions. The timing is suspicious. There's no clear indication at this point as to motive. This is something that is very much under investigation, very much in the early stages of the investigations. FBI and ATF both say that, you know, we are digging into this as quickly as we can. But these sorts of things take some time. And this really is breaking news that has just happened in the past several hours. So the timing is questionable. It's something that they're looking into. And the fact that George Soros has been demonized by people on the right, a lot of conspiracy theories targeting Soros makes, you know, you can try to build a narrative around that. But let's hold off on that. We need to wait and see what the facts are, and then we can come to conclusions.

GREENE: All right. The latest from NPR's Ryan Lucas. Ryan, thanks a lot. We appreciate it.

LUCAS: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

David Greene is an award-winning journalist and New York Times best-selling author. He is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, the most listened-to radio news program in the United States, and also of NPR's popular morning news podcast, Up First.
Ryan Lucas covers the Justice Department for NPR.

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