By Dorany Pineda
LOS ANGELES — U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters unequivocally condemned “any and all acts of violence and terror” Oct. 24 as federal officials continued to investigate a string of potentially explosive packages found in various locations in the Eastern United States.
Waters, D-Los Angeles, was informed by U.S. Capitol Police that her Washington, D.C. office was targeted with a suspicious package that was referred to the FBI. “I am appreciative of the law enforcement entities who intercepted the package and are investigating this matter,” she said in a statement.
The suspicious package addressed to Waters was found at a congressional mail-sorting center in the U.S. Capital, according to media reports from Washington, D.C., and was immediately intercepted. The package was sent to an FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia, for examination, reported ABC 7.
Later Oct. 24, officials at a U.S. Postal Service facility in South Los Angeles reported a suspicious item addressed to Waters at her district office on South Broadway.
Several suspicious packages were found at different locations targeting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton, former CIA chief John Brennan, liberal billionaire George Soros, former Attorney General Eric Holder, CNN’s New York office and others.
The Los Angeles Police Department, which was among numerous law enforcement organizations involved in the bomb threat investigations, released a statement in response saying, “We are aware of the suspicious packages sent to several locations on the East Coast. Right now, there is no nexus to Los Angeles. However, we are monitoring the situation and communicating with our federal and local law enforcement partners.”
In El Segundo, the new Los Angeles Times’ building was briefly and partially evacuated and several streets were closed when local police and fire officials were notified of a package containing suspicious envelopes found outside the premises. After building security opened the box, they found there was no bomb threat and the evacuations and street closures were lifted, authorities said. The envelopes were still sent to El Segundo Fire Department’s hazmat team for further examination, Capt. Don Dennis told the Times.
The San Diego building that houses an office for U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris and the San Diego Union-Tribune also was briefly evacuated after someone found and reported a suspicious pile of boxes outside. Authorities later found they contained everyday items and lifted the evacuations.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and other Democratic leaders, including U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, suggested the divisive rhetoric of President Donald Trump –– who expressed support of the congressman who physically assaulted a reporter –– could be inspiring violence in people.
“This is the violence of this moment politically,” Garcetti said during a press briefing Oct. 24. “We used to resolve our disputes in a civil manner. Now we are not only uncivil, we have a president who rallies people like a blood sport for going after a journalist physically.
“We have people re-tweeting conspiracy theories of foundations being the cause of why Hondurans are fleeing death threats in their country. You have conspiracy violence and, quite frankly, un-American impulses guiding some of our leaders, and they are using that to stir up their base before an election. I think they bear some of the responsibility for some of the violence we see. And look, violence isn’t just on one side.”
Trump held a press briefing Oct. 24 at the White House condemning the suspicious packages, saying the nation must “unify” and “come together” to send the message that “acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America.
“The safety of the American people is my highest and absolute priority,” he continued, and that “the full weight of our government is being deployed to conduct this investigation and bring those responsible for these despicable acts of justice.”
The FBI, which is actively investigating the potentially explosive packages, advised the public in a statement “to remain vigilant and not touch, move or handle any suspicious or unknown packages,” as investigators believe additional packages may have been mailed to other locations.