The FBI has Intercepted Pipe Bombs Targeting Black-elected Officials

U.S. Representative Maxine Waters

The FBI today arrested a 56-year-old Florida man for sending the devices

A fingerprint found on a package mailed to U.S. Representative Maxine Waters provided the lead that led to the suspect’s arrest

By Frederick H. Lowe

Pipe bombs, including five targeting former President Barack Obama and other black officials, have been intercepted so far this week by the FBI. The FBI  also announced this morning that it has arrested Cesar Sayoc, Jr.  a 56-year-old Florida man, for the bomb scare, said FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Sayoc has been charged with five federal crimes, including interstate transportation of an explosive, illegal mailing of an explosive, threats against former presidents and certain other persons, threatening interstate communications and assaulting  current and former federal officials, said U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. If convicted on all the charges, he faces up to 48 years in prison.

Sayoc  has a long record of arrests for possession of controlled substances, theft, making a bomb, domestic violence and shoplifting. It is not known if he has ever been convicted of any crimes. He also managed male strippers, and he is a strong supporter of President Donald Trump.

Officials of the nation’s top law enforcement agency said they are looking for more bomb packages. The packages have been mailed to those who have been frequent verbal targets of President Donald Trump and his supporters. All of the bombs targeted Democrats.

Cesar Sayoc wearing his “Make America Great Again” baseball cap.

Pipe bombs were sent to the New York offices of CNN, which is headquartered in the Time Warner building, forcing the building’s  evacuation for safety reasons. Trump has repeatedly accused CNN of  publishing “fake news.”

In addition, Trump has often said that the news organizations are enemies of the people, sparking wild applause among his mostly white base of supporters who wear red “Make America Great Again” baseball caps.

The pipe bombs which could kill  or seriously injure their targets were mailed to President Obama, U.S. Senator Cory Booker,  (D., New Jersey),  U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D., California) U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D., California) and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker

They also were mailed to former President Bill Clinton, Former Vice President Joseph Biden,  former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Oscar winner Robert De Niro, billionaire George Soros, former CIA director John Brennan,  James Clapper, former U.S. Intelligence Director, and Tom Steyer, a political activist.

All have been critics of Trump.

The pipe bombs mailed to De Niro and Biden were discovered on Thursday. The FBI intercepted pipe bombs mailed to Clapper and Booker on Friday. The others were found between October 22 and 24.

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris

Biden served as Obama’s vice president for eight years and Hillary Clinton was the Democratic Party’s nominee for President in 2016. Clinton lost to Donald Trump in the Electoral College vote,  but she won the popular vote by a wide margin. A bomb also was sent to the New York home of billionaire George Soros.

Though none of the bombs exploded, and no one was hurt, police, FBI, U.S. Secret Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ordered the evacuation of the Time Warner  building and nearby streets as a precaution. CNN’s anchors reported the news on the sidewalk outside their New York headquarters after being ordered to leave the building.

Eric Holder Jr.

The bombs were sent to Trump’s Democratic enemies, which included individuals who have indicated they will run against him in 2020 for president.

Trump has repeatedly shown his dislike of Obama by dismantling achievements of the Obama administration including health care.

Trump verbally insulted Obama, charging, without any proof, that the wasn’t born in this country; therefore, he shouldn’t be allowed to be president. Obama produced his birth certificate showing he had been born in Hawaii but that did not quiet Trump.

Two pipe bombs were addressed to Waters. They were intercepted on Wednesday at the congressional mail facility outside of Washington and a postal facility in South Central Los Angeles.  One of the packages contained Sayoc’s fingerprint.

One of the manila envelopes containing a pipe bombs or improvised explosive devices. FBI photograph

Waters, who represents California’s 43rd Congressional District, told Blavity Politics that she would not be afraid to go out.

Trump condemned the political violence, but Steve Schmidt, an MSNBC contributor and former Republican, blamed Trump for the bomb scares.

The return address on the pipe bombs was for Debbie Wasserman Shultz, a Congresswoman who represents Florida’s 23rd District and former head of the Democratic National Committee. The bomber misspelled her last name which is spelled Schultz.

The pipe bombs were mailed in manila envelopes with a bubble wrap interior, the FBI said. “The packages were affixed with computer-printed address labels and six “Forever” stamps. Each device was roughly a six-inch PVC pipe, a small clock, a battery, some wiring and “energetic material” that gives off  heat and energy as a reaction to heat, shock or friction, Wray said.

The package addressed to Holder was returned to Schultz’s office because of insufficient postage.

Ironically, a package mailed to Waters led to an arrest. Not that Waters wanted to see anyone get hurt or killed,  but  she and Trump are bitter enemies. Trump called Waters a person with a “very low IQ.”

Waters has been threatened with lynching by Trump supporters, forcing her to cancel speaking engagements.

Former President Barack Obama

Trump, a man who relies more than most on lies and hyperbole, called Booker the most-corrupt member of the U.S. Senate because he accepts campaign donations from people who work on Wall Street.

Others, however, have something to say about Trump.

Holder charged that Trump is “guilty of rampant corruption, stunning incompetence, and shameful intolerance.”

Death threats against President Obama, the nation’s first black president, came early and often and were much greater in number than death threats received by any of his predecessors.

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