Rebekah Brancato News Editor
Starting Oct. 22, a string of fifteen packages containing pipe bombs were discovered en route to various politicians and public figures. No one was injured, and no devices exploded outside of a controlled setting.
The targets of the packages included former U.S. President Barack Obama, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Representative Maxine Water, U.S. Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and two former intelligence chiefs. Additionally, packages were sent to billionaires George Soros and Tom Stey, and actor Robert de Niro. A fifteenth package was addressed to CNN’s World Headquarters.
The common link among all of the targets were that they were prominent critics of President Donald Trump. Suspect Cesar Sayoc Jr. was arrested on Oct. 26 and has been charged with five federal crimes, including interstate transportation of an explosives, illegal mailing of explosives, threats against former presidents and certain other persons, threatening interstate communications, and assaulting federal officers.
Sayoc has a long criminal history, including having plead guilty in 2002 for calling in a bomb threat to Florida Power & Light, according to the New York Times, and was known for his extreme anti-liberal views on social media.
An investigation is being led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with help from other law enforcement agencies. “We ask anyone who may have information to contact the FBI. Do not hesitate to call; no piece of information is too small to help us in this investigation,” the FBI stated on Oct. 24.
President Trump reacted to the attempted bombings by stating on Oct. 24 that “any acts or threats of political violence are an attack on our democracy, itself.”
Bryan Paarman, an FBI special agent, spoke at a press conference on Oct. 24, in the midst of the attempted attacks. “The utilization of violence in order to further one’s own political agenda is unacceptable to us, and we will not rest until we find this,” he stated. “We will turn over every rock, we will turn every corner and we will talk to everybody that we have to in order to mitigate this threat.”