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Suspect In The U.S. Mail-Bomb Investigation Detained

The first in the series of explosive devices was found Monday in a mailbox outside the New York home of billionaire philanthropist George Soros

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A package containing a "live explosive device," according to police, received at the Time Warner Center which houses the CNN New York bureau, in New York City, is shown in this handout picture provided. VOA

U.S. authorities on Friday detained a person they believe is connected to at least 12 suspicious packages sent to Democratic politicians and critics of President Donald Trump, a U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman announced.

More details of the arrest are expected to be released at a news conference later today.

Earlier Friday, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said Friday a suspicious package addressed to Democratic Senator Cory Booker was found.

The FBI said the package was similar to the crude pipe bombs that were addressed to former President Barack Obama, other high-profile Democrats and critics of of President Trump. The law enforcement agency said the package was found in Florida.

New York police said a twelfth suspicious package targeting former National Intelligence Director James Clapper was also found Friday at a post office in Manhattan.

Clapper said on CNN early Friday he was not surprised he was targeted and said the incidents were “serious.”

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A member of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office bomb squad walks to the building where U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s office is housed in Sunrise, Florida,. VOA

Federal investigators searched a massive U.S. mail sorting facility in Florida late Thursday, after determining that at least one of the pipe bombs was processed there.

A report in the Miami Herald says the package that ended up in the office of U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz is “likely” the package in question, according to a federal law enforcement official familiar with the case.

Before arriving in Schultz’s office, however, the mail bomb was initially sent to the office of former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in Washington, but was not delivered and was sent to the return address, which was Schultz’s address. It was processed through the massive Opa-locka mail sorting facility in Florida, The Herald reports.

Investigators are expressing confidence they will identify who is responsible for sending the 10 pipe bombs.

“We will identify and arrest the person or people responsible for these acts,” New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill told reporters Thursday.

FBI laboratory

All of the “suspected explosive devices” were being taken to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s laboratory at the U.S. Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia, O’Neill said.

“We are discovering things by the hour,” he added at a news conference where other officials also said tips from the public were providing leads for investigators.

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FBI Director Christopher Wray speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House. VOA

FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney, who is in charge of the bureau’s New York field office, said “the investigation is still in its early stages,” thus he would not provide specific answers to the media about possible suspects or whether the pipe bombs were properly wired to explode.

Investigators are specifically looking at the southern part of the state of Florida as a source of some of the packages, according to media reports.

U.S. President Donald Trump is largely blaming the media for the angry political atmosphere in America that critics contend has led to what is being regarded as a wide-scale assassination attempt.

Early Friday, Trump posted on twitter.

“Funny how lowly rated CNN, and others, can criticize me at will, even blaming me for the current spate of Bombs and ridiculously comparing this to September 11th and the Oklahoma City bombing, yet when I criticize them they go wild and scream, “it’s just not Presidential!”

“A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News. It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!”

Trump’s tweet Thursday came as suspected explosive devices addressed to actor Robert De Niro and former Vice President Joe Biden were found Thursday.

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President Donald Trump talks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, before leaving for Wheeling, W.Va. VOA

Other packages have been addressed to former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as a former U.S. attorney general, two Democratic Party members of Congress and former Central Intelligence Director John Brennan.

What police described as a live explosive device that arrived in an envelope addressed to Brennan at CNN’s New York bureau prompted the evacuation of the Time Warner Center for hours on Wednesday.

Pressed by reporters Thursday on whether there could be a link between Trump insulting political opponents and the dispatch of the bombs,White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders replied, “the president is certainly not responsible for sending suspicious packages to someone no more than (Democratic Party U.S. Senator) Bernie Sanders was responsible for a supporter of his shooting up a baseball field practice last year.”

Throughout the day on Wednesday, leaders from both the major parties called for a return to civility in the political arena.

The Secret Service says the package addressed to Clinton was discovered late Tuesday, intercepted at a mail screening facility near her home in a New York suburb where she lives with her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

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Officers watch over the scene outside the Time Warner Center, Oct. 24, 2018, in New York. Law enforcement officials say a suspicious package that prompted an evacuation of CNN’s offices is believed to contain a pipe bomb. VOA

A separate package addressed to Obama, according to the Secret Service, was intercepted at a screening facility at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, a 365-hectare military facility in Washington.

Also Read: President Donald Trump Key Force In Driving The Midterms Elections

California Congresswoman Maxine Waters was sent two suspect packages, one intended for her office in the nation’s capital and the other for her home district office. The first was intercepted at a congressional mail sorting center in the state of Maryland, and the second discovered by postal inspectors at the Los Angeles Central Mail Sorting Facility.

The first in the series of explosive devices was found Monday in a mailbox outside the New York home of billionaire philanthropist George Soros, a major donor to Democratic candidates. (VOA)

Next Story

US President Donald Trump May Blacklist Chinese Surveillance Tech Firm

Administration officials could make a final decision in the coming weeks, the sources said

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FILE - President Donald Trump speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, May 9, 2019. VOA

US President Donald Trump’s administration is considering blacklisting a Chinese video surveillance giants from buying American technology, in a latest attempt to counter Beijings global economic ambitions, a media report said.

The move would effectively place the company, Hikvision, on a US blacklist. It would mark the first time the Trump administration punished a Chinese company for its role in the surveillance and mass detention of the Uyghur Muslim ethnic minority, informed sources told The New York Times on Tuesday.

The development is also likely to inflame the tensions that have escalated in President Trump’s renewed trade war with Chinese leaders.

Trump, in the span of two weeks, has raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, threatened to tax all imports and taken steps to cripple the Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei.

China has promised to retaliate against American industries.

Hikvision is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of video surveillance products and is central to China’s ambitions to be the top global exporter of surveillance systems.

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President Donald Trump arrives at a rally at Resch Center Complex in Green Bay, Wis., Saturday, April 27, 2019. VOA

The company has said that its products enable their clients to track people around the country by their facial features, body characteristics or gait, or to monitor activity considered unusual by officials, such as people suddenly running or crowds gathering.

The Commerce Department might require that American companies obtain government approval to supply components to Hikvision, limiting the company’s access to technology that helps power its equipment.

Administration officials could make a final decision in the coming weeks, the sources said.

Also Read- Apple Introduces First, Fastest 8-core MacBook Pro

The potential crackdown stems from the Trump administration’s belief that China poses an economic, technological and geopolitical threat that cannot be left unchecked.

China has used surveillance technology, including facial recognition systems and closed-circuit television cameras, to target the Turkic-speaking Uyghurs, who have accused the Chinese government of discriminating against their culture and religion, The New York Times reported.

The country has exported this technology to nations that seek closer surveillance of their citizens, including Ecuador, Zimbabwe, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates. (IANS)