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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Mail Bomb Suspect Captured; Wray Warns More IEDs May Be in Transit

FBI Director Christopher Wray said today’s arrest of a suspect in multiple mail bombings is “a testament to the strength of our partnerships and what we can do when we all work together.”

Cesar Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Fla., was arrested at a store in Plantation, Fla. He currently faces five federal counts connected to allegations that he sent at least 14 pipe bombs to officials around the country: George Soros, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, former CIA Director John Brennan, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), former Vice President Joe Biden, actor Robert De Niro, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), billionaire Tom Steyer, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

Sayoc had active social media accounts and attended Trump rallies; police seized his white van, which was plastered with various images of the president and images of the president’s foes in crosshairs.

“I want to acknowledge the many partners who helped in recovering and transporting these IEDs to our lab in Quantico. This is dangerous and highly specialized work that requires great care, and we’re incredibly grateful to everyone who helped us in getting those to our lab from around the country,” Wray said at a Justice Department press conference today.

Each device, he said, “consisted of roughly six inches of PVC pipe, a small clock, a battery, some wiring, and what is known as ‘energetic material,’ which is essentially potential explosives and material that gives off heat and energy through a reaction to heat, shock, or friction.

“Though we’re still analyzing the devices in our laboratory, these are not hoax devices.”

Wray said Sayoc’s fingerprint was lifted from one of the devices sent to Waters.

“Today’s arrest does not mean we’re out of the woods. There may be other packages in transit now—other packages on the way. So we need the help of everyone out there—every citizen, every law enforcement partner, everyone we’ve got—to help with this investigation in the days to come,” he said. “If you’ve got any information, please call us on our hotline at 1-800-CALL-FBI or online at tips.fbi.gov. No piece of information is too small; every tip could be the one that leads to something very important. And of course, if you see any suspicious activity, please call your local authorities. We need all hands on deck. We need to stay vigilant.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the charges against Sayoc — interstate transportation of an explosive, illegal mailing of explosives, threats against former presidents and certain other persons, threatening interstate communications, and assaulting current and former federal officers — “may change or expand as the investigation continues.”

“This is a law-and-order administration. We will not tolerate such lawlessness, and especially not political violence,” Sessions said.

“Federal, state, and local law enforcement officers from across America responded immediately to the cause and contributed to this effort. We are proud of each one of them,” he said. “I want to reiterate that the defendant in this case is innocent until proven guilty. But let this be a lesson to anyone—regardless of their political beliefs—that we will bring the full force of law against anyone who attempts to use threats, intimidation, and outright violence to further any agenda. We will find you. We will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”

Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, antisemitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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