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 ClintonIdentity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination O'Rourke’s strategy: Show Americans the real Beto Conservatives pound BuzzFeed, media over Cohen report MORE, billionaire philanthropist George Soros, former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanBrennan calls on Congress to end shutdown before negotiating border security: Not 'subservient' to the president Washington’s reflexive opposition to Trump on Syria Brennan hopes GOP abandons Trump in 2019 over 'malfeasance, corruption' MORE at the CNN building, Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersBuzzFeed story has more to say about media than the president New progressive sheriffs in town ready to fight for Main Street On The Money: Shutdown Day 27 | Trump fires back at Pelosi by canceling her foreign travel | Dems blast 'petty' move | Trump also cancels delegation to Davos | House votes to disapprove of Trump lifting Russia sanction MORE (D-Calif.), former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderHolder: If Trump directed Cohen to lie, impeachment proceedings ‘must begin’ William Barr's only 'flaw' is that he was nominated by Trump Protecting voices of all voters is critical to free and fair elections MORE, actor Robert DeNiro and former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenBiden: 'We've learned in the last two years, it doesn't take much to awaken hate' 2020 Democrats barnstorm the country for MLK weekend BuzzFeed story has more to say about media than the president 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.