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
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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." 

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“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 ClintonGraham: McCain 'acted appropriately' by handing Steele dossier to FBI Why Mueller's hedge on obstruction decision was a mistake Giuliani says news media treat Dems better than GOP MORE, billionaire philanthropist George Soros, former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanThe wisdom of Trump's lawyers, and the accountability that must follow Mueller's report Ex-CIA director blasts Trump over 'temper tantrums' Ex-CIA director: 'I don't have any doubt' Trump will pardon Manafort MORE at the CNN building, Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersJudd Gregg: Pelosi's olive branch...sort of Ocasio-Cortez: Removing Trump from office won't fix country's problems Financial Services Committee Republican: Maxine Waters's policies 'bad for America' MORE (D-Calif.), former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderEric Holder: 'We're really at the beginning' of questions about Trump obstructing justice What should Democrats do next, after Mueller's report? GOP eager to exploit Dem court-packing fight MORE, actor Robert DeNiro and former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenButtigieg shows signs of emerging from the Democratic pack No Perry Mason verdict from Mueller, and no impeachment from Pelosi Taraji P. Henson on Biden 2020: 'Save us, Joe!' 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.