WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Secret Service says it has intercepted "potential explosive devices" addressed to former President Barack Obama, ex-Secretary of State and former First Lady Hillary Clinton, and other leading Democrats.
U.S. authorities said at least four suspicious packages were discovered on October 24, raising political tensions less than two weeks ahead of key November 6 midterm elections. Initial reports of a least three other suspect packages have not yet been confirmed.
Investigators said they believe the suspect packages are linked to one found on October 22 at the home of 88-year-old businessman and philanthropist George Soros, a top contributor to Democratic politicians.
U.S. President Donald Trump, in a previously scheduled speech at the White House, called the sending of the packages a "despicable," "abhorrent" act, and "egregious conduct."
"Acts of political violence have no place in the United States of America," he said, vowing that the "full weight" of the government would be used to "get to the bottom of it."
The Secret Service said packages containing suspected pipe bombs addressed to Obama and Clinton were never delivered to their residences and that they were never in danger.
Obama was Trump's predecessor as president, while Clinton was Trump’s rival in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Elsewhere, CNN reported that the Time Warner Center in New York, where the broadcaster has its offices, was evacuated following reports of a suspicious package there, with broadcast videos showing scenes of heavy a police presence outside the building.
A suspected explosive device was later removed by experts to be investigated and defused.
CNN said the suspicious package was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, who regularly criticizes Trump on television.
Trump has often attacked CNN and other press outlets, calling them the "enemy" of the American people.
A package deemed suspicious also appeared intended for former Attorney General Eric Holder. It was sent to an erroneous address and never reached the former Democratic member of Obama's cabinet, officials said.
The White House immediately condemned the attempted attacks on "President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and other public figures."
“These terrorizing acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” a White House statement said.
The Secret Service, meanwhile, denied earlier reports that a similar package had been addressed to the White House.