The CNN offices in New York City were evacuated Wednesday morning during a broadcast after a suspicious package was discovered in the mailroom at the media outlet's Time Warner Center headquarters.
The bomb scare is the fourth credible report of an explosive device sent to a high-profile political figure in the last 48 hours, after bombs were mailed to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and George Soros.
At around 10:10 a.m. Wednesday, CNN employees were asked immediately to vacate the building, located in Columbus Circle in Manhattan and leave behind their belongings. The bomb was discovered in the company's mailroom at 9:30 a.m. and had been addressed to “10 Columbus Circle,” CNN reports.
Three sources tell CNN that the package was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, who is a frequent guest on the company’s programming. Brennan, an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, is a frequent target of right-wing conspiracy theories.
The New York City Police Department confirmed Wednesday that a “live explosive device” was found at the Time Warner Building that houses CNN’s headquarters, along with a white envelope containing white powder.
“There was an envelope containing white powder that was discovered as part of that original packaging, and we’re in the middle of investigating that now,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neil said at a news conference. “The area has been swept with dogs and equipment.”
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio characterized the attempted attack as an “act of terror” and an attack on the “free press.”
"What we saw here today was an effort to terrorize,” de blasio said, “This clearly is an act of terror, attempting to undermine our free press and the leaders of this country through acts of violence."
De Blasio said there are no additional credible threats in New York City, and New Yorkers should go about their days normally.
The White House has condemned the attempted attacks.
"We condemn the attempted violent attacks recently made against President Obama, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, and other public figures," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. "These terrorizing acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.'
CNN's D.C. bureau took over broadcasting the network's news coverage while New York correspondents reported on their phones from the street.
“The device was constructed with a pipe and wires,” CNN’s Jessica Schneider reports. “Law enforcement authorities treating device as real explosive.”
A bomb squad, led by the NYPD's head of counterterrorism, removed the device around 11:45 a.m. and transported it to Randalls Island, where the NYPD bomb squad is headquartered. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's office says he's been briefed on the "ongoing situation."
CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker sent a note to employees Wednesday saying that the company is working with law enforcement to “determine the severity of the situation.”
“We are also checking all bureaus around the world,” Zucker added, “out of a complete abundance of caution.”
The abrupt evacuation came just as federal authorities confirmed that the U.S. Secret Service had intercepted packages containing a series of explosive devices sent to the Clinton’s home in Chappaqua and Barack Obama’s office in Washington D.C.. And on Tuesday, police said that an explosive device was found in the mailbox of billionaire philanthropist George Soros’ residence in upstate New York.
Cover screenshot via CNN