Authorities treating mailed bombs as 'live devices,' not hoaxes, NY police commissioner says

Authorities treating mailed bombs as 'live devices,' not hoaxes, NY police commissioner says
© Getty Images

New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill said Thursday that law enforcement officials are treating the suspicious packages containing possible explosives sent to high-profile Democrats this week as “live devices," not “hoax devices.”

“This is something that should be taken seriously,” O’Neill told reporters at the press conference in New York. “We are treating them as live devices." 

ADVERTISEMENT

“As far as a hoax device, we’re not treating it that way,” O’Neill added. 

His remarks came after some conservatives, including radio host Rush Limbaugh, suggested that the bombs could have been part of a hoax or false-flag operation.

Officials said Thursday that they are treating the suspected bombs as “live devices” and “suspected” explosives. At the same time, they offered little details of the ongoing investigation, refusing to answer even whether they had concluded privately one way or another that the devices were actually meant to explode.

The FBI, along with state and local officials across the country, is spearheading the investigation into, so far, 10 suspicious packages in total.

The packages, all similar in appearance, were addressed to former President Obama, Bill and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden: Probably '10 to 15 percent' of Americans 'are just not very good people' Mattis's Trump broadside underscores military tensions Mark Cuban says he's decided not to run for president MORE, billionaire philanthropist George Soros, former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanGraham postpones Russia probe subpoena vote as tensions boil over GOP votes to give chairman authority to subpoena Obama officials Rosenstein takes fire from Republicans in heated testimony MORE at the CNN building, Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersMcCarthy yanks endorsement of California candidate over social media posts Top bank regulator announces abrupt resignation GOP pulls support from California House candidate over 'unacceptable' social media posts MORE (D-Calif.), former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderTrump official criticizes ex-Clinton spokesman over defunding police tweet Obama to speak about George Floyd in virtual town hall GOP group launches redistricting site MORE, actor Robert DeNiro and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden formally clinches Democratic presidential nomination The Memo: Job numbers boost Trump and challenge Biden Chris Wallace: Jobs numbers show 'the political resilience of Donald Trump' MORE.

All were discovered between Monday and Thursday of this week. In almost all of the cases, the packages were intercepted by authorities before reaching the targets. Officials in New York cautioned Thursday that the investigation is in the early stages and ongoing, and warned that further packages could be found. 

“We’re doing our best to make sure if there are any out there, we identify them quickly,” O’Neill said.

Authorities have sent all 10 packages to the FBI’s laboratory in Quantico, Va., for further testing. 

“We are working quickly to process and analyze relevant information,” said William Sweeney, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office. “We will continue to do so for as long as it takes.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) again described the attempted attacks as an act of terrorism. 

“It’s absolutely terrorism because it’s an effort to use violence to make a political impact," de Blasio said, echoing language he used the day before.