Robert De Niro, Joe Biden new ‘bomb targets’
ROBERT De Niro and former US vice president Joe Biden are the latest in a series of targets to be sent suspicious packages thought to contain pipe bombs.
The package sent to De Niro was addressed to the Hollywood actor and delivered to his New York restaurant, the Tribeca Grill B in Manhattan.
The bombs were each about six inches long with a small battery and packed with powder and broken glass, said a law enforcement official who viewed X-ray images. The official said the devices were made from PVC pipe and covered with black tape.
CNN reported the package had similar markings to the pipe bomb sent to the network yesterday.
A law enforcement source said a similar package addressed to Mr Biden was intercepted at a Delaware mail facility, reigniting fear yesterday's bomb scare drama was not an isolated event.
The former Delaware senator is a Democrat who served as vice president in the Obama administration.
The most highly-trained experts in the world are investigating today’s suspicious package in #TriBeCa — & the item is now en route to a secure facility in the #Bronx. Together with our partners @NewYorkFBI, @ATFNewYork, @nyspolice & more, @NYPDCT WILL find whoever is responsible. https://t.co/4WcCwz4dME— Commissioner O'Neill (@NYPDONeill) October 25, 2018
De Niro has clashed with Donald Trump several times - once branding him a "national disaster".
Mr Trump on Thursday morning blamed the media for provoking anger in Americans - but did not directly reference the bombs. "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," he tweeted.
Former CIA director John Brennan, to whom the CNN bomb was addressed, hit back at Mr Trump's comments, telling him to "stop blaming others" and that his "inflammatory rhetoric, insults, lies, encouragement of physical violence are disgraceful."
It comes after 24 hours of chaos with up to nine suspicious parcels - some containing crudely built pipe bombs - intercepted before reaching targets including former US President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Mr Obama's attorney-general Eric Holder.
Stop blaming others. Look in the mirror. Your inflammatory rhetoric, insults, lies, & encouragement of physical violence are disgraceful. Clean up your act....try to act Presidential. The American people deserve much better. BTW, your critics will not be intimidated into silence. https://t.co/cS5qNiuU7o— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) October 25, 2018
All of the targets are frequently criticised by right-wing activists.
The US President has been criticised for failing to denounce the mail bombs as domestic terror, with Democrats claiming he has stoked anger against left-wing people and organisations.
The hashtag #MAGAbomber has begun trending on Twitter, infuriating Republicans who claimed Democrats were exploiting the news "to try to manipulate the public into thinking patriotic Americans are SOMEHOW responsible."
Another pointed out the device sent to CNN was wrapped in an Islamic State flag, although it was identified as a parody version of the distinctive design.
So let me get this straight.— Mike Tokes (@MikeTokes) October 24, 2018
Not one "bomb" was functional, every recipient had mail screening services & every single one was intercepted?
Then Dems exploit this to try to manipulate the public into thinking patriotic Americans are SOMEHOW responsible? #MAGABomber #BombScare
Dear Trumpsters:— Craig Rozniecki (@CraigRozniecki) October 25, 2018
Terrorism is about inciting fear. When a bomb is delivered to a person, it incites fear. Whether or not the bomb goes off, it's still terrorism.#MAGAbomber
The President on Wednesday condemned the person or persons sending the packages, saying: "Acts or threats of political violence have no place in the United States.
"This egregious conduct is abhorrent."
He took a softer tone than usual at a rally in Wisconsin on Wednesday night. "Let's get along," he said. "By the way, do you see how nice I'm behaving tonight? Have you ever seen this?"
The New York City police bomb squad has removed the package sent to De Niro. It is now being taken to a "secure location in the Bronx", police said.
An employee of TriBeCa Productions, a television and film production company co-founded by the Hollywood actor, alerted police to the package sent to De Niro around 5am local time, AFP reported.
Police said officers would be joined by colleagues from the FBI and ATF at the restaurant, so traffic would be affected for some time while the investigators worked.
The first crude bomb discovered was delivered on Monday to the suburban New York compound of George Soros, a liberal billionaire and major contributor to Democratic causes.
The FBI said an additional package intended for former attorney general Eric Holder ended up at a Florida office of Democratic Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose return address was on it.
Two similar-looking packages addressed to California Congresswoman Maxine Waters - another fierce Trump critic - were also intercepted, the bureau said.
De Niro has clashed with Mr Trump several times in the past, both during the presidential campaign and afterwards. Before the 2016 election the actor slammed Mr Trump as "blatantly stupid," "totally nuts" and an "idiot."
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday said a device had been sent to his office in Manhattan, but it was unrelated to the mail bombs.
"We would not be at all surprised if more devices show up," said Mr Cuomo, a Democrat, at a media briefing on Wednesday afternoon local time. "There is a pattern."
FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement yesterday his agency would lead a Joint Terrorism Task Force of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to "continue to work to identity and arrest whosoever is responsible for sending these packages".