FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The building that houses Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s office in Sunrise was evacuated Wednesday after a suspicious package arrived in the mail.
A Broward Sheriff’s Office bomb squad and the FBI were called in to determine what exactly was delivered to the congresswoman’s office at 777 Sawgrass Corporate Parkway.
— Ted Scouten (@CBS4Ted) October 24, 2018
The package was removed safely from the building and taken to an FBI lab where it will be examined. X
The package was intended for former Attorney General Eric Holder but had the wrong address, two law enforcement sources said. It was returned to the Democratic congresswoman because that was the return label on the package.
In New York, authorities intercepted suspicious devices intended for former President Barack Obama and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
A suspicious package containing a pipe bomb was sent to billionaire investor and major Democratic donor George Soros earlier this week.
Originally it was reported that a suspicious device was also sent to the White House but was intercepted. According to CNN, the United States Secret Service said no suspicious device was sent to the White House.
Also on Wednesday morning, the New York Police Department responded to a suspicious device discovered in the Time Warner Center in New York City, where CNN has a bureau.
The package was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan.
The device found in the mailroom is similar to the ones addressed to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and George Soros, said the law enforcement source.
The NYPD said officers found what appeared to be a live explosive device. NYPD Bomb Squad secured the device and removed it. Additionally, there was an envelope containing white powder that was discovered as part of that original packaging and they investigating that right now.
According to the FBI, the return address on each of the packages was listed as Wasserman Schultz.
“This investigation is of the highest priority for the FBI. We have committed the full strength of the FBI’s resources and, together with our partners on our Joint Terrorism Task Forces, we will continue to work to identify and arrest whoever is responsible for sending these packages,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “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.”
Then late Wednesday the FBI confirmed two additional suspicious packages were found, addressed to California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, that are similar to the other devices found on the East Coast.
The Aventura Police and the U.S. Postal Inspector also investigated a call about a second suspicious package at 19200 West Country Club Drive. Wasserman Schultz has an office in the building.
After conducting an investigation, the package was determined to be safe.
According to law enforcement, the initial examination found the Time Warner, Clinton, and Soros devices were constructed similarly. At least one of the devices appeared to contain projectiles, including shards of glass. The devices are rudimentary but functional.
Neither Obama nor Clinton received the packages or were at risk of receiving them, the Secret Service said. They were discovered during “routine mail screening procedures as potential explosive devices and were appropriately handled as such,” the agency said in a statement.
The package intended for Obama was intercepted in Washington, DC, and the one intended for Clinton was intercepted before delivery to her residence in Chappaqua, NY.
“We are fine thanks to the men and women of the Secret Service, who intercepted the package addressed to us long before it made its way to our home. Every day we are grateful for their service and commitment and obviously never more than today,” said Clinton at a Miami campaign event for Donna Shalala who is running for Congress.
Representatives for the Clintons referred press inquiries to the Secret Service, and a spokeswoman for Obama did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Wasserman Schultz released a statement on the situation.
“This morning my office in Sunrise, Florida was evacuated due to a suspicious package. In an abundance of caution, my office in Aventura, Florida was also evacuated. I have been in direct contact with the FBI and other law enforcement officials who are working tirelessly on this investigation, and I am grateful for their efforts to keep us safe. We are asking anyone with useful information to contact the FBI by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI.
We will not be intimidated by this attempted act of violence. This appalling attack on our democracy must be vigorously prosecuted, and I am deeply disturbed by the way my name was used. Today, my staff and I will hug each other and our loved ones tightly, and tomorrow get back to work serving the people I was elected to represent.”
“We will spare no resources or expense in this effort,” said President Trump on the investigation into who sent the devices. “We have 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 U.S.”
Vice President Mike Pence also condemned the attacks.
We condemn the attempted attacks against fmr Pres Obama, the Clintons, @CNN & others. These cowardly actions are despicable & have no place in this Country. Grateful for swift response of @SecretService, @FBI & local law enforcement. Those responsible will be brought to justice.
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) October 24, 2018
Senator Marco Rubio also condemned the attacks.
Every American should be angry about these potentially explosive devices targeting U.S. political figures. We should not ever tolerate terrorism against anyone. Period. The full weight of the federal govt should be used to find,arrest,prosecute & punish whoever is behind this.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 24, 2018
(©2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN contributed to this report.)