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Suspicious Packages Sent To Obama, Hillary Clinton

Oct 24, 2018
Originally published on October 24, 2018 10:12 am
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Someone sent some suspicious packages to former President Obama and former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. The source of that news is the Secret Service. And that news comes after a bomb was apparently sent to the home of the financier George Soros. We should emphasize at this moment we don't know much about the seriousness of this story, but we do know that it's happening. And we're going to bring you up to date on what we do know with NPR justice reporter Ryan Lucas. Ryan, good morning.

RYAN LUCAS, BYLINE: Good morning.

INSKEEP: How much is the Secret Service saying?

LUCAS: Well, they aren't saying a whole lot right now. And this is something that really is just breaking news. They have sent out a statement at this point. And what they are saying is that the Secret Service 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, the Secret Service intercepted a second package that was addressed to Barack Obama here in Washington, D.C.

INSKEEP: Oh, the former president has a home here in Washington now.

LUCAS: Right. And what the Secret Service is saying is that both packages were immediately identified during routine screening as potential explosive devices. They say that neither Clinton nor Obama ever received the packages. They weren't in their hands, they weren't in their houses, but they were addressed to them. That's as far as they got. The Secret Service is working with the FBI, with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as state and local law enforcement to try to figure out as much as they can.

INSKEEP: You've added something meaningful here because there are a lot of different things that could be in a suspicious package, I'm sorry to say, but they're saying potential explosive devices, a particular kind of threat here. Which brings us to this other threat, something was discovered being sent to George Soros. What was that?

LUCAS: Right. That was - a pipe bomb was found in the mailbox of Soros' home in a suburb of New York. It was filled with explosive powder. Authorities safely detonated the device. No one was hurt. But, you know, it's unclear what the motive of the individual who left this this device may have been. No arrests have been made at this point. This is another thing that the FBI and local law enforcement in New York are investigating. Certainly a lot of questions as to the motivations behind whoever left it, particularly since Soros has been kind of the target of a lot of rhetoric from people kind of on the far-right who accuse him of, you know...

INSKEEP: Various conspiracies.

LUCAS: That's probably the simplest way of putting it.

INSKEEP: Social media has connected him with no evidence whatsoever to this caravan moving up from Central America. There's all kinds of conspiratorial speculation about George Soros. And I guess that is one thing that all three of these figures have in common is that they're fairly polarizing figures - Soros, as well as Hillary Clinton and President Obama.

LUCAS: They are. You know, we are living in very polarized times. And there are questions certainly as to whether there is a political motivation behind this. Again, we don't know at this point in time. But that's a question that people are definitely asking.

INSKEEP: Yeah. We should emphasize - no one has named any suspect. No one has said anything about the motivations of that suspect or anything else.

LUCAS: Nope. This is something that - this is very much the early stages of the investigations in all three of these cases. The FBI is working with ATF and Secret Service as well as local law enforcement, as I said. And this is something that they're obviously going to be eager to get to the bottom of.

INSKEEP: And all three of the apparent targets are safe.

LUCAS: Right.

INSKEEP: Ryan, thanks very much for the update. I really appreciate it.

LUCAS: My pleasure.

INSKEEP: That's NPR's Ryan Lucas. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.