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 ClintonWatch live: Trump holds a rally in South Carolina On the ground at CPAC: Republicans see Sanders as formidable foe Home state candidates risk losing primaries MORE, billionaire philanthropist George Soros, former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanEx-CIA chief calls Trump intel shakeup a 'virtual decapitation' of the intelligence community DOJ attorney looking into whether CIA withheld info during start of Russia probe: NYT Federal prosecutor looking into Brennan's role in Russian interference findings: report MORE at the CNN building, Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersMaxine Waters: Gang members have 'more integrity' than 'street player' Trump Maxine Waters blasts Trump as 'mafia boss' over Stone case Democrats highlight lack of diversity at major banks in new report MORE (D-Calif.), former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderIf Roger Stone were a narco, he'd be in the clear Trump flexes pardon power with high-profile clemencies They forgot that under Trump, there are two sets of rules MORE, actor Robert DeNiro and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump surveys South Carolina supporters on preferred Democratic opponent Watch live: Trump holds a rally in South Carolina Biden, Klobuchar to address AIPAC via video 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.