Murphy: pipe bombs, suspicious packages a ‘coordinated assassination attempt’

Washington – Congressional lawmakers on Wednesday were urged to take additional security precautions following reports that the U.S. Secret Service intercepted explosive devices sent to former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and other high-profile Democrats.

No member of Connecticut’s congressional delegation was targeted, but the FBI is investigating suspicious packages addressed to or received by Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who like the Clintons and Obama are frequent targets of right-wing ire.

CNN received a similar bomb at its New York office Wednesday that was intended for Obama’s former CIA director, John Brennan, who is a frequent critic of President Donald Trump. Former Attorney General Eric Holder was also targeted and, two days ago, an explosive device was found in the mailbox of billionaire philanthropist and Democratic donor George Soros.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., on Wednesday called the rash of mailings of pipe bombs and suspicious packages a “coordinated assassination attempt against Democrats.”

“Today was horrifying,” Murphy said. “I’m grateful for the Secret Service and police officers who heroically foiled these coordinated attempted attacks on Democratic figures and offices. The perpetrators must be found and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

Murphy also said “whoever is behind these attacks is trying to silence politicians and journalists from speaking truth.”

“They won’t succeed,” he added.

Since the anthrax scare that shook Congress in 2001, mail sent to members of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate is screened at two separate facilities in Maryland. One of the suspicious packages was intercepted at the House mail screening facility.

“All of our mail that comes to D.C . is rigorously screened off campus,” said Patrick Malone, spokesman for Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District. “Our district offices are on alert, however, for any suspicious packages.”

The office of the House Sergeant of Arms on Wednesday urged lawmakers to take new precautions.

“As you may have heard from news reports today, law enforcement authorities are investigating a number of suspicious packages received at U.S. locations including a suspicious package at the House Mail Facility,” the House Sergeant of Arms said. “As reminder, all packages and mail delivered to the U.S. House of Representatives on Capitol Hill are rigorously screened. It is important for District Offices to continue safe mail handling procedures to reduce the risk of staff being exposed to harmful materials. Additionally, members and their families should also practice safe mail handling procedures for personal mail delivered to their residence.”

The Senate Sergeant of Arms distributed a similar warning.

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