Serial mail bomber: Everything we know about the packages sent to politicians, Dem donors

Posted at 6:11 AM, Oct 26, 2018

As the FBI and US law enforcement agencies turn to the catching the serial mailbomber, or mailbombers, terrorizing those who have been labeled by President Donald Trump as political enemies, it's interesting to follow in their steps and examine what we know about the now 12 packages that have been intercepted.

All those we have seen were all in manila envelopes, for instance, with the same return address. They all had six forever stamps, which was enough to get some to mail sorting facilities, but another needed more postage. They all had the same return address, with a misspelled name for Debbie Wasserman "Shultz," not Schultz, a Democratic congresswoman from Florida who is the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

There are images of five of the packages, one of which -- one of the packages sent to Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California -- was shared by both DC Police and the FBI on social media.

Related: The manhunt - FBI treating serial bomber as domestic terrorism


Where did they come from?


CNN reported Thursday that multiple law enforcement sources said all the packages went through the US mail system and authorities believe several of the packages went through the Opa-locka, Florida, processing and distribution center, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation.

The lack of a postmark on most of the packages complicates all of this and could suggest the packages came from multiple places. It does appear there is some kind of postmark on the package directed to President Barack Obama.


How were they sent?


Sent to a home: Five (George Soros, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Biden, Barack Obama)

Sent to an office:Four (John Brennan at CNN, Robert DeNiro, Maxine Waters, Maxine Waters)

Not known where it was sent: One (Eric Holder which ended up at Wasserman Schultz's office)

Delivered: Three (Soros, Brennan at CNN, DeNiro)

Intercepted at postal facility:Six (Waters, Waters, Biden, Biden, Clinton, Obama)

Returned to sender:One(Holder at Wasserman Schultz office)


About the postage


Six forever stamps was enough to get the De Niro package delivered, if it was delivered by the postal service. And it was enough to get a number of other packages to a sorting facility. But in the case of one of the Biden packages, it was not enough. There is a note attached to the Biden package with a 375 over a 300 and a 75 underneath. Those numbers are next to words that appear to say "postage due."

A forever stamp is worth 50 cents. A first class large envelope is $1 for the first ounce and 21 cents for each additional ounce. That means the forever stamps on each envelope are worth $3.00, perhaps the "300" on the Biden package note. The USPS online shipping calculator suggests the package weighed 7 oz, $3.75, if charged as a large envelope or package, or 13 oz, $3.52 if charged as a letter.

Here's what we know about each package in the order in which the packages were reported.


First package - George Soros, Bedford, NY


First reports: Afternoon of October 23

The Soros package was destroyed by a bomb squad near his home. This is one of two packages to reach its destination. CNN has reported it is believed to have been placed in the mailbox.

There is an image of the Soros package, which shows his name and the rest of the address blurred.

DC Police shared an image of the package with all but the name of "Wasserman Shultz (sic)" blurred. The FBI also shared an image of a package on social media, photographed on grass, with all information blurred. This appears to be the Soros package because the tears on the envelope match exactly.


Second package - Hillary Clinton, Westchester County, NY


First reports: "Late" on October 23

The Secret Service reported the existence of this package to the public on October 24 at the same time as a package later discovered addressed to Obama. Clinton's home is in Chappaqua, but the Secret Service release simply said it was addressed to her in broader Westchester County, New York. The known image of the package shows that Clinton's first name is misspelled as "Hilary."


Third package - Barack Obama, Washington, DC


First reports: "Early" in the morning on October 24

The Secret Service statement about the Clinton and Obama packages was the first word that a serial mail bomber was on the loose. The former President's first name is misspelled "Barrack." Neither the Obama or Clinton packages made it to their destination, but the Secret Service said they were "intercepted during routine mail screening procedures." That suggests they were mailed. The Obama package is the only one that appears to have postal service markings on it.


Fourth package - John Brennan, c/o CNN, New York City


First reports: Mid-morning October 24

This was the most public package discovery because it was, essentially, broadcast live on TV, when an alarm went off during Jim Sciutto and Poppy Harlow's show on CNN. This is also the package for which there is the best image, both with the bomb out of the envelope and of the cover of the envelope. It is addressed to a misspelled John Brenan, who is the former CIA director and an on-air analyst at MSNBC and NBC.

Whoever sent the package knew enough to target Brennan, a figure who attracted enough ire from Trump that he revoked Brennan's security clearance, but not how to (or chose not to) spell his name correctly or the network at which he works. Images of the bomb inside the package show it to be decorated with a picture, apparently of Brennan, as well as some other markings, which some have speculated to be a spoof of an ISIS flag.


Fifth package - Eric Holder at Debbie Wasserman Schultz's office, Sunshine, Florida


First reports: Mid-morning October 24

This package was first reported when the building housing Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Florida office was evacuated. Schultz was actually scheduled to appear with Clinton at an event with House candidate Donna Shalala that day. It turned out the Holder package, of which we have not specifically seen an image, was returned to sender at the Wasserman Schultz office. That doesn't mean someone from the Wasserman Schultz office sent it, but rather that the postal service tried and failed to send the Holder package and returned it to her office. Does that mean it was sent before the other packages? It's not clear how the bomber listed the original Holder address. This is one of at least two packages with bad addresses.


Sixth package -- Maxine Waters on Capitol Hill


First reports: Afternoon of October 24

Although sent to the California congresswoman's office on Capitol Hill, it was intercepted at the mail sorting facility in Capitol Heights, Maryland.


Seventh package: Maxine Waters, Los Angeles


First reported: Night of October 24

A second package to Waters was intercepted in Los Angeles. There are no known images. She and Biden are the only people who are known to be the target of two packages.


Eighth package - Robert DeNiro, New York City


First reports: Morning of October 25

The package was received in the mailroom of the building housing DeNiro's production facility and a retired police officer working at the building discovered it. He didn't realize it was connected to the mail bomber until later and left it in his office on the seventh floor. There are images of the DeNiro packages, and it appears that the address label for DeNiro is formatted differently than other packages. His address is indented.


Ninth and Tenth packages: Joe Biden, Wilmington, Delaware


First reports: Morning of October 26

Sent to different addresses, but both with Biden's name, the packages were intercepted at mail facilities in and near Wilmington. The address, unlike some of the others, includes Biden's middle name, Robinette.

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