Live

Watch CBSN Live

FBI on package bombs: "These are not hoax devices"

Mail bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc charged

FBI Director Christopher Wray said Friday that more than a dozen improvised explosive devices sent to individuals nationwide were "not hoax devices." He said each device was made of roughly 6 inches of pvc pipe, wiring, a small clock, battery and "energetic material that could be explosive."

Wray, speaking at a Justice Department press conference Friday afternoon, said 13 devices were sent, although CBS News confirmed later in the day that 14 packages containing bombs were sent to political figures across the country. They were sent to prominent Democratic leaders and critics of President Trump this week, including former President Barack Obama and Mr. Trump's opponent in 2016, Hillary Clinton. 

Wray said other packages could still be in transit. He also praised law enforcement, which used DNA evidence to help find the suspect, 56-year-old Cesar Altieri Sayoc. Wray said that law enforcement officials found a "latent fingerprint from one of the envelopes containing an IED sent to Congresswoman Maxine Waters," which the FBI confirmed belongs to Sayoc.  

Sayoc was arrested Friday and has been charged with five federal crimes.

Suspect in custody in connection with 12 suspicious packages, DOJ says

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the sending of package bombs were "antithetical" to the American democratic process, where citizens accept decisions and election results without incident. 

"It is a threat to that respect for law and process," Sessions said, wherein citizens "advocate for your beliefs enthusiastically, but peaceably accept the results." He added that the arrest of a suspect demonstrated "the skill, capability, and determination of our American law enforcement."

NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill discussed the partnership between the NYPD and the FBI whenever there are cases involving threats of terrorism. "New York City cops were side by side with FBI agencies and many other agencies in Florida this morning," he said.

O'Neill also thanked the media for broadcasting photographs of what the packages and explosive devices looked like, as it helped the NYPD identify more packages.

Earlier, authorities recovered suspicious packages sent to Democratic Sen. Cory Booker and James Clapper, the director of national intelligence under Obama. Additional packages were recovered from Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris and donor Tom Steyer.

Sessions said that he did not know why the suspect sent package bombs to Democrats only, but it was clear that he was a partisan. Wray did not comment on if heated political rhetoric contributed to any possible radicalization of the suspect.

"We're concerned about people committing violence under any motivation," Wray said.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Trump said that "these terrorizing acts are despicable and have no place in our country." He also praised U.S. law enforcement for doing "an incredible, incredible job" and called it the "best in the world." And he called on Americans to unify and "show the world we are united in peace and love and harmony."

Two of the bombs had been sent to CNN headquarters in New York, addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan and Clapper. Mr Trump cast suspicion on the threat in a midnight tweet targeting CNN, and in another expressed displeasure that the bomb scares were diverting attention from the midterm elections.

"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!"" Mr. Trump wrote in the tweet sent at 3:14 a.m. ET on Friday.

"Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this "Bomb" stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows - news not talking politics," Mr. Trump wrote in another tweet Friday.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was initially supposed to travel to Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday to address the opioid crisis.