Several of the 10 suspected mail bombs sent to high-profile Democrats and noted anti-Trumpers were flawed and incapable of exploding, invesigators said Thursday, adding that others have yet to be fully analyzed, reports NBC. In some cases the flaws were significant, while others were more subtle.
The news, expected to be detailed at a joint NYPD/FBI briefing in New York shortly, comes after investigators said the devices appeared poorly made and that it was unclear if they were hoaxes or simply cases of bad construction. Earlier in the investigation, officials in multiple states had described the items as live explosives and a number of senior bomb techs briefed on the probe said they had all the components necessary for successful explosions.
Investigators cautioned that the analysis is far from complete, and they say anyone who encounters one of the parcels should treat it as dangerous. –NBC
None of the devices have detonated, and nobody has been hurt in what appears to be a not-so elaborate hoax.
Security analysts tell Reuters that the mailings were “probably more of a scare tactic than a murder plot.”
“What they wanted to do was scare people, cause disruption, but not necessarily hurt anybody, because if they’d wanted to hurt people the bombs would have gone off,” said Matthew Bradley, a former CIA agent and current regional security director of International SOS and Control Risks.
“My personal feeling is that this is some kind of a wacko, rather than an organization trying to accomplish something. Evil, mad, has a grudge. A little mix of all of these,” said University of Rhode Island chemistry professor Jimmie Oxley, an explosives expert. –Reuters
So far there are no leads on a potential suspect, however authorities say they have been investigating whether the packages were mailed from Florida. While they did not elaborate on the lead, the return address for each package went to Congresswoman and former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D).
Of the 10 packages intercepted thus far, three were discovered early Thursday morning – addressed to actor Robert De Niro and former Vice President Joe Biden.
The others came in the prior 72 hours: two were addressed to Rep. Maxine Waters of California; ones were also addressed to Hillary Clinton, former President Obama, ex-Attorney General Eric Holder and former CIA Director John Brennan. The first in the series was a mailbox pipe bomb left at the Westchester County home of billionaire philanthropist George Soros.
According to sources, the explosive devices were made from PVC pipe and contained a timer (likely a digital alarm clock) to set off the detonator. The powder contained in the bombs comes from pyrotechnics. X-rays show there was likely shrapnel inside the PVC pipe, law enforcement officials say. –NBC
Investigators are diligently working to gather any fingerprints or DNA evidence from the devices.
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