New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he declared the pipe bomb delivered by courier to CNN headquarters an act of terrorism before the feds issued that determination because “here was an effort to intimidate, to use violence for political ends.”
The device was rudimentary but functional, and reportedly packed with glass shards as shrapnel. Officials are studying that and bombs delivered to other locations — for former President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and former Attorney General Eric Holder — to retrieve evidence and track the perpetrator.
The CNN bomb was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, who has previously appeared as a guest on the network.
“People are not being cowed by this. But we have no doubt that this is an act of terror,” de Blasio told CNN, adding “there is no credible and specific threat at this point to any location in New York City” but “clearly there’s a pattern here that we’re taking very, very seriously.”
“Obviously, what’s happened here is directed for political purposes… we should not assume it’s only a one-day thing,” he continued, stressing that “people should assume it’s going to take at least days, if not longer” for the suspect or suspects to be tracked down “and that we’re not out of the woods here until the perpetrators are found.”
De Blasio said counterterrorism forces were positioned “very visibly in front of key media companies” and at the offices of “prominent political figures” in NYC.
“We’re going to get past this. Ultimately, this is a very good and decent country full of people who try and do the right thing. These moments bring us down, but what I think is crucial for people to recognize, that this is a moment in time,” he said. “The way we answer this hatred is by being in solidarity with each other, looking out for each other, being vigilant, recognizing that the information that you hear, something you might not be sure is important or not, but in the hands of law enforcement, may prove to be a crucial clue.”
President Trump and other elected officials “need to start preaching peace right now,” the mayor added.
“Unfortunately, there are a lot of people keying off the president and keying off of other voices of hate. And there’s results to that. There’s a lot of impressionable people out there. There’s a lot of people with mental challenges and other things that inspire them to act when they hear that kind of voice,” de Blasio said. “You know there’s a more responsible way.”
He responded to those on social media suggesting it was a hoax by confirming it was “unquestionably a legitimate device — and thank God it didn’t go off.”
Remembering a pressure-cooker bomb spotted on the street in 2016 at the time of the Chelsea dumpster bombing, de Blasio noted that “the fact that something does not go off is not the way to grade it — let law enforcement be the judge.”
At an earlier press conference with de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, FBI Special Agent in Charge Bryan Paarmann acknowledged that “a lot of the public right now is scared and concerned and there was a lot of confusion surrounding this,” but vowed the multi-agency investigation would “turn over every rock, we will turn every corner and we will talk to everybody that we have to in order to mitigate this threat.”
“We have been through this many, many times,” Cuomo said. “Literally, as I mentioned before, it goes back 25 years to the first World Trade Center bombing. This is New York – it is part of who we are, and part of our profile. So we refuse to be intimidated. We refuse to allow them to make us afraid of going through our daily lives.”