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Suspicious Devices Found at CNN in New York. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired October 24, 2018 - 12:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[12:00:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Kate and Jim, that ran in when we ran out, right? Those lights were switched off on our way out. We pulled our mikes, took our IFP's (ph) out of our ear and we had the entire CNN team went out of the building and these are the folks that ran in and these are the folks that removed that device safely out of that building and got it out of the middle of Manhattan and (INAUDIBLE). Those are the heroes.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely. Thank you, guys. It's nice that we were able to hook up after all on different sides of this.

I'm going to toss it back to you, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, so in about 45 minutes there will be this briefing. Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York, the governor, Andrew Cuomo, the New York City Police commissioner, James O'Neil, at 12:45 p.m. Eastern, they'll be briefing on the security situation where you guys are outside the Time-Warner Center in New York.

Jake, this is a story that, you know, came out of the blue, but there were suspicions for days now that there were some serious problems beginning with that suspicious package that was delivered to George Soros' residence outside of New York City.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: In Westchester County, New York, billionaire, financier George Soros, who funds a lot of liberal and progressive causes, who's been a boogie man among conservatives for a long time getting that bomb on Monday at his home and now more bombs all over the United States.

This is CNN's special coverage. I'm Jake Tapper.

And it's been, frankly, a panicked day. Suspicious packages containing what law enforcement sources say look like functional bombs. They were sent to the residents of former President Bill and Hillary Clinton, the residence of former President Barack and Michelle Obama, as well as CNN's New York offices at the Time-Warner Center in New York City.

The initial suspicion that the devices are linked. We expect, as Wolf just said, a briefing from the NYPD, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo sometime this hour. When that happens, we will bring it to you live, of course.

CNN's Poppy Harlow and Jim Scioto are on the scene. They were on air when they had to evacuate form the Time-Warner Center because of the bomb scare. We also have CNN crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz with us.

And let's start with Jim and Poppy. Tell us, Jim, about the scene, what happened, and when you were told you had to evacuate and what you were told?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I'll tell you, Jake, you know, it's remarkable to have been on the air discussing --

HARLOW: This.

SCIUTTO: A spate of explosive devices sent around the country. We were discussing the Obama residence, the Clinton residence, following a day or two ago, the Soros residence. And then we heard a fire alarm and, of course, your first reaction -- sadly my first reaction when I hear a fire alarm, is this just a drill?

HARLOW: Right.

SCIUTTO: Can we ignore it and keep doing our job?

HARLOW: Right.

SCIUTTO: Then it became very clear as all of our colleagues flooded out of the building that this is one we better listen to and walked out of the building with everybody else and were met immediately with that tremendous and immediate New York Police Department response, including the bomb squad.

TAPPER: Tell us what was going through your head?

HARLOW: You know, Jake, I thought it was a drill at first. And then immediately our crew, Jay on set and Marlin on set, the lights went off. The came -- Jim and I, you know, reporters, we wanted to stay reporting the news. They took our mikes off, our IFP's out of our ears and we didn't do anything but head for the stairwell with all of our colleagues, everyone in the newsroom immediately went down the stairs, walked down those six flights of stairs.

And it was as I was walking out with Jim, out of the doors onto 58th Street in the middle of Manhattan, that we heard the reporting that this was not just about a potential fire, that this was indeed about a potential explosive device in the building. One that has now been removed and transported. And it's surreal.

And then within minutes, we tried to get back up on the air to continue the show and continue our reporting.

SCIUTTO: And as you -- as you walked outside, and I kept my colleague Kate here, who's been in the middle of it with us from the beginning --

HARLOW: Yes.

SCIUTTO: Is just that the New York Police Department took this very seriously from the beginning. It was clearly not a drill. And their first concern was the safety of us and the hundreds of others, New Yorkers affected by this, as they moved us further and further away and moved to act immediately --

HARLOW: Yes.

SCIUTTO: To make the area safe and get that device, which made it inside the CNN building, get that device out and safely.

BOLDUAN: And it was really striking. I have to say, I was struck watching you guys on the air as we --

HARLOW: Right.

BOLDUAN: As the first alerts -- as the first alert came over the loud system because that's when it indicated to me that something was different.

HARLOW: Right.

BOLDUAN: Because we don't do -- we don't have drills when you guys are -- when you guys are on air.

HARLOW: We don't. And your office is right next to our set. So you --

BOLDUAN: I walked right out and I saw you guys.

HARLOW: Yes.

BOLDUAN: And then when you came down, and I was really struck by, Jake, the -- how you just saw continued increase in police presence. It went from a few vehicles outside with the people on the ground, to dozens of, you know, more than a dozen vehicles outside.

HARLOW: Right.

[12:05:02] BOLDUAN: And then when you saw that it looks like a cement truck --

HARLOW: It does.

BOLDUAN: Like a small cement truck, that containment vehicle come in, and see it get moved into your building, into the building, into where you work, it's -- it was a really striking moment. But they took it very seriously at one point, moving us back a block, moving us back even further when they needed to expand what they're calling the frozen zone, to make sure that that device could get out of the building and get over to -- get out of Manhattan as safely and quickly as possible.

And I have to tell you, they did it.

HARLOW: Yes.

BOLDUAN: I mean people -- I mean we're in Manhattan and people want to get where they're going, but everyone understood from the posture that you could see from the police and FDNY that are out there, everyone understood this was nothing to mess around with.

HARLOW: How serious.

BOLDUAN: And then that moment when we got -- everyone got the alert on their phone that said shelter in place while we were on air was --

HARLOW: That was it for me. I mean that was --

SCIUTTO: OK.

TAPPER: Kate, Jim, and Poppy, thanks so much for --

SCIUTTO: Jake, just one more thing.

TAPPER: OK, go ahead.

SCIUTTO: Sure. No, just that in the midst of it, the police were calm and the people of New York as they experience it were calm. There was no panic. Folks listened to the cops. They moved down the street. They acted with great composure. And I think that should be -- certainly the first responders, you expect them to be, but also the folks affected by this were as well.

HARLOW: Yes.

TAPPER: Kate, Jim and Poppy, thanks so much. We'll come back to you.

I want to go to Shimon Prokupecz right now to give us the latest of the investigation because, Shimon, first of all, let's talk about a few things here.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

TAPPER: The -- my understanding is that the device, whatever it was that was delivered to the CNN New York office was addressed to the former CIA Director John Brennan?

PROKUPECZ: Yes, that's exactly right. That package was addressed to the former CIA Director John Brennan. It was received at our mailroom in New York at 10 Columbus Circle. That's the address that authorities have told us was on the package. And then it went through the mailroom and some folks there, our folks in the mailroom there, noticed something weird about it.

What I'm told is that this package is similar in construction and the way it appears to the other devices that authorities had discovered, certainly the one at George Soros' home, the one that was addressed to the former president, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton. So all of that really had authorities concerned.

They knew immediately when they went in and when they looked at this that this was going to be the real deal based on the way it was constructed. It had similarities to the other devices. The NYPD bomb squad had already been briefed on some of these devices, the other devices that had been found, and so they knew what they were looking at and immediately what I'm told is that they were dealing with a pretty serious situation here in New York.

TAPPER: Athena -- Shimon, thanks so much.

I'm going to go to Athena Jones now.

And, Athena, we're expecting this hour a briefing from officials from the city of New York and the state of New York. What are we expecting?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jake.

That's right, at 12:45, we expect to hear from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, from the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, and from representatives from the NYPD and also the fire department. This is according to the governor's spokesperson.

Now, we don't know -- we've been talking about the sort of similarities or seeming connection between these devices that have been found at the Obama residence, at Chappaqua, at the Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton's residence in Chappaqua and at George Soros' house. We don't know --

TAPPER: Athena, I'm sorry, the connection -- Athena, I'm sorry, I'm going to interrupt you, the connection there is spotty. We'll bring you -- we'll go back with you, Athena, when the audio issues there get sorted out.

But right now I want to go to CNN's Jeff Zeleny who's at the White House.

And, Jeff, apparently the president has been briefed and he did tweet on the subject as well.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He did, Jake.

Just a few moments ago, after he arrived in the West Wing around noon or so eastern time here. He was receiving briefings throughout the morning, I am told, by officials in the residence of the White House where he spends most of his mornings and he arrived in the West Wing about noon or so. And shortly after that he essentially added his voice to the voice of the vice president saying I wholeheartedly agree to a tweet the vice president sent out that said this, we condemn the attempted attacks against former President Obama, the Clintons, CNN and others. These cowardly actions are despicable and have no place in this country. We're grateful for the swift response of the Secret Service, the FBI and local law enforcement. Those responsible, he says, will be brought to justice.

So interesting the president just adding his voice to the vice president's there, not sending out his own message. But the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders condemned the suspicious devices earlier in the day.

And, Jake, as of now, the president is scheduled to remain on schedule. He has an event here this afternoon at the White House, a bill signing ceremony. I'm told by one official he is likely to address this at that point, if not sooner, and he is still scheduled to go to a campaign rally this evening in Wisconsin.

[12:10:00] But, Jake, certainly one question for the president, one question for the White House, is the rhetoric, the intense rhetoric, that he has been saying and his supporters have been giving out over these last several weeks leading into the midterm elections, and certainly even before that, is that contributing to any of this? We'll see if the president addresses that as he speaks this afternoon. But we do know he has been briefed, Jake, and he's in the West Wing right now.

Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Jeff Zeleny, thank you so much.

Let me bring in law enforcement analyst Art Roderick, who's on the set.

And let's pick up with what Jeff was just talking about there, because, look, we don't know who did this.

ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Right.

TAPPER: We don't know what their motive was.

RODERICK: Right.

TAPPER: But it's a very obvious thread, and maybe it's meant as a ruse, but it's an obvious threat, the Obamas, the Clintons, John Brennan, CNN, George Soros, these are people and organizations that President Trump continually attacks, demonizes. That will, obviously, be something that law enforcement looks at initially.

RODERICK: Yes, that's going to be the key part here, I think. But it's also interesting how quickly this information regarding those two devices that went to the Obamas and Clintons, how quickly that got out to state and local and federal law enforcement around the country because when I first heard that those packages ended up at the Clintons and the Obamas, the first thing I thought of, and probably every other law enforcement officer thought of too is, oh my gosh, who else is going to be receiving packages like this. So it was -- it struck me that the information got out very quickly. NYPD was able to make the connection between the device at CNN Center and the two that showed up at the Obamas and the Clintons. And, you know, hope -- everybody is out there looking for devices now, whether it's on Capitol Hill, at U.S. courthouses, at federal buildings, at Senate and congressman's office around the country, everybody is looking for these types of devices right now.

TAPPER: And one of the things that's interesting, we should point out, is that Debbie Wasserman Schultz --

RODERICK: Right.

TAPPER: The former head of the DNC, the congresswoman from Florida, two things about her. One, her Sunrise, Florida, congressional office has been evacuated after a suspicious package was found mailed there this morning --

RODERICK: Right.

TAPPER: According to the spokesman for the local police department. And also, according to a law enforcement source and a federal source, the package to at least to George Soros had her return address. Obviously, we don't think that she had anything to do with it.

RODERICK: Right.

TAPPER: But it had her return address. And that's odd. And something that law enforcement will be looking at.

RODERICK: Absolutely.

TAPPER: How able are law enforcement officials to use the information and the mailing addresses, the envelopes, whatever there is, the devices themselves, to figure out who did this?

RODERICK: Well, forensics is going to be a key in this. And when you look at these types of devices, usually it's more or less a fingerprint of who the bomb maker is.

Now, we've heard that these are rudimentary devices, although operation, they can cause a lot of damage. And, you know, ones that don't get exploded, you know, they'll be able to pull fingerprints off, find out what triggering device was used. Was it the same in every single one. There's shrapnel that is in some of them, another with glass shards and metal pieces that will cause more damage. So all this will be put together and they'll come up with a pretty good idea, at least of who -- how these bombs were made and possibly who's making them. But all this goes into evidence, especially if the devices were not exploded and they were intact, that's going to be very helpful for law enforcement to figure out where those were made and who made them.

TAPPER: All right, Art, stick around.

I want to bring in Josh Campbell. He's a CNN law enforcement analyst as well, a former official at the FBI.

Josh, what will the FBI and other affiliated law enforcement agencies be looking for right off the bat?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: So we're looking at multiple crime scenes here. So these law enforcement agencies will be fusing together, Jake. They'll be sharing intelligence.

I mean let's start with, you know, what we know here looking at this. And obviously there are a lot of questions that we still have. But from an investigative standpoint, looking through that lens, this appears as though it's an attack on Democrats, or at least progressives, if you look at the target.

Now, again, we don't know what the full, you know, totality will be here when it comes to who all was targeted, but at least from an initial assessment, as an investigator, you go with what you know, and that's a key factor in order to try to get into the mind of, OK, who is doing this, what is motivating them?

As Art mentioned, there's also the forensics piece. So you're going to be going through these devices and this is why we always talk about intelligence sharing and fusing these law enforcement partnerships because one thing that happens in one part of New York may quickly impact New York City and other locations, including Washington, D.C. So these law enforcement agencies need these relationships to quickly share information.

I was talking with a law enforcement source there in New York just a short time ago and he mentioned just that, that, look, once these devices started coming in the news, we saw Soros, we saw Clintons, we saw Obamas, the NYPD and the FBI and a lot of different agencies quickly started monitoring that, gathering information. And then as we saw today, it hit home locally. So they were already ahead of the game when it comes to knowing about these devices. Now it comes down to actually looking at doing that forensic examination in order to try to work back and again bridging the gap between what they don't know and a lot of these questions.

[12:15:10] TAPPER: All right, Josh.

Just -- if you're just joining us, let me just bring you up to speed.

Law enforcement authorities are looking into a number of potential bombs, suspicious packages, have been sent to Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama in Washington, D.C., former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton in Chappaqua, outside New York City, a package addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, care of CNN's New York offices, even though John Brennan does not work for CNN. There's also a bomb scare. We don't know if there's actually an incendiary device or a suspicious package still at this date that is suspicious, the office of Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Sunrise, Florida. This on top of a device, an apparent bomb, that was sent to the home outside New York City, Westchester County, New York, of billionaire financier and funder of liberal causes, George Soros. All of this happening since Monday afternoon with most of it happening this morning.

And, Art Roderick, how confident are you, as a former law enforcement official, that they will find out who did this? I mean some of these crimes go unsolved.

RODERICK: Some of them do, and we all remember how long it took to catch somebody like the Unabomber. It took years before we were able --

TAPPER: It was only because his brother dropped (INAUDIBLE).

RODERICK: Exactly. And this could be the case in this particular instance.

But I think because we have so many of these devices right now, and we've come a long way since the days of the Unabomber also, that somebody hopefully will come forward. But based on the forensics that they get from those particular bombs I think is going to be key. You know, the other interesting things is, this whole situation of

offsite scanning of mail coming into federal facilities and also governmental buildings started back during the anthrax scare --

TAPPER: Right.

RODERICK: And after 9/11. So the government went out and did these continuation -- government continuation of operation plans and part of the main ones was to do offsite screening of mail so that it wouldn't shut down headquarters, buildings and offices, so that the governmental can continue functioning.

And we saw what happened here with CNN headquarters at the Time-Warner building. Completely shut down that whole building and everybody had to evacuate.

TAPPER: Right. And, of course, it's the home of not just CNN --

RODERICK: Right.

TAPPER: But TNT and Turner and TBS and a lot of very wealthy people have condos there.

RODERICK: Right.

TAPPER: I want to bring in Evan Perez.

And, Evan, obviously as Art noted, one of the things that law enforcement officials all over the country, if not the world, are going to be looking for is, do we have this problem? Have any incendiary devices, suspicious packages, been sent to anyone in our area of jurisdiction?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right, Jake, that is actually the big concern now.

Look, when this first showed up a couple nights ago with the device that was sent to the home of George Soros, people took notice. And then this morning we're hearing from law enforcement officials is a big concern that there might be other devices that are en route and that someone -- someone could get hurt.

Look, this -- these devices are rudimentary. The devices -- the pictures that are being shared among law enforcement appear to show very rudimentary devices made with chemicals that could react and that could go off. And so what we're being told is that they're rudimentary but functional. They could hurt someone.

And the big concern is that, obviously, you're trying to target some big name somebody, but someone small, some assistant, some mail carrier, someone handling the packages will be the one actually who will be hurt. And so that's what the concern is right now is that there are other devices perhaps that are en route somewhere, we don't know where, that have yet to show up and that could hurt someone.

We're told that at least one of the devices had pieces of -- what appear to be shrapnel, things -- essentially projectiles, shards of glass, which are intended to increase the harm that would come from the explosion. So whoever is doing this appears to know a little bit about what they're doing. They may not have access to the most -- the biggest types of chemicals and the types of ingredients to really cause the damage, perhaps, that they want, but they have enough know- how to put together something that could hurt people and it could be happening in all -- in other parts of the country as they try to track down these devices.

One other thing to add to what Art just said. I think it's important to note that law enforcement has gotten very good at examining these types of devices. And Shimon I think said, the key here is the device that was being sent to the Bronx. They're hoping that it doesn't go off so that that way they can try to examine as much of it. Every piece of this device is a clue. They hope they might be able to get fingerprints. They hope that they can use the forensics, perhaps even the mail label. They can try to identify what kind of printer printed this mail label. All of these things are clues and the law enforcement people at the FBI are going to be digging into this in the hours to come, Jake.

[12:20:26] TAPPER: All right, Evan Perez, thanks so much. Keep us updated.

I want to go back to New York City now, to Jim Sciutto and Poppy Harlow, who were anchoring this morning when word got out that there was a suspicious package in the Time-Warner Center and they had to be evacuated along with everyone else. They are there with James Gagliano, a law enforcement analyst for CNN.

Jim.

SCIUTTO: Thanks, Jake.

Here with Poppy, James, former supervisory special agent for the FBI.

They took the device away. They did not detonate it on scene. They're now taking it up to this facility in the Bronx. They do that because they want to glean as much intelligence from this device as they can. What are the next steps?

JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: First of all, an abundance of caution. They want to get it out of here. We're in Manhattan, 8.6 million people. This square block right here, they want to get it out of here. So they put it into a unit that they can transport it up to (INAUDIBLE), which is up in the Bronx. And from there, there are certain things they're looking for.

First of all, there needs to be a controlled detonation. They'll use a shape (ph) charge to separate the actual explosives from the initiator, the thing that's going to set it off. And then, from that perspective, then they're looking to see what the bomb maker's signature is. And bomb makers are just like bakers, they have a particular way of doing things, right.

HARLOW: Right. GAGLIANO: So the tool marks, any type of crimping on the wire,

fingerprints, as you pointed out early this morning, anything that they can use to track down who did this and to link them to the other bombs that have obviously been already been found.

HARLOW: What about the fact that this happened so quickly, in a matter of 24, 36 hours, George Soros gets an explosive device in his mailbox. Then it is, you know, two former presidents. I mean on and on. And then it is this to John Brennan, but at CNN here in New York City. Could one --

TAPPER: Hold on, we're going to break in and listen to Vice President Pence, who's speaking right now.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I saw the enthusiasm for his vision for America and I'm here today on his behalf and on my own for one reason and one reason only, Pennsylvania and America need John Chrin in the Congress of the United States of America.

TAPPER: All right, we're going to go back to Jim and Poppy in New York City. That was not Vice President Pence talking about the news story that we're talking about.

HARLOW: Yes.

TAPPER: Let's go back to you, Jim Sciutto. Sorry about that.

HARLOW: But we thought, Jake, that he would address it. You would think. He hasn't on Twitter. We'll see if he says anything in these remarks.

But, to you, could one person carry this out, and so rapidly, and in so many different cities?

GAGLIANO: Yes, it would be much more difficult to do that if you were delivering them. Like the one to Soros was placed in the mailbox.

HARLOW: Right.

GAGLIANO: If they're mailed, yes. The Austin bomber did that. A number of different devices at the same time.

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you this question. And, again, it's early.

You look at commonalities. You look at commonalities in the device itself. You said fingerprints, literal and figurative, the way it's put together. And I imagine you also look at targets and whether there are commonalities of the target. Let's just state the obvious here, the folks and organizations targeted so far, ones that some see as critics of the president and that the president has directed anger at. Do you look at that as you're trying to establish M.O. and then try to narrow down who the suspects might be?

GAGLIANO: OK, good question.

The first thing that we do is, any time a device like this, an IED, is sent out, the FBI assumes that this is terrorism. There was a thing called the Presidential Directive in 1998 that Bill Clinton signed that basically said, anything that we believe is terrorist related, the FBI has purview over. We start with that.

And then certainly link analysis. Who are the potential victims? Where are they being sent? Is there any type of either anecdotal or forensic evidence that's harvested that says these people are linked together. So the answer to your question, Jim, yes, but you don't want to exclude other things either.

SCIUTTO: Right.

GAGLIANO: You want to keep an open mind on this thing. You don't want to profile because you want to make sure that you're not going to say, we're focused on this and then somebody else targets somebody over here.

SCIUTTO: And that's always a concern. From early this morning, we were reporting this, when the first device was sent to Obama and Clinton, the concern immediately from the FBI was that there were other potential devices out there --

HARLOW: Wow.

SCIUTTO: Which proved to be true and still could be true.

HARLOW: What is the most important piece of information your former colleagues and NYPD and ATF are trying to get right now off of this device? It was driven up north of where we are to what-- a facility called Rodman's Neck in the Bronx. As they're looking at it right now, what is the number one -- is it fingerprints -- what are they trying to get? Is it a certain profile of whatever powder may have been included, et cetera, to match it potentially to the others?

[12:25:00] GAGLIANO: The number one thing right now is crisis resolution, making sure that no one else gets hurt, there's no more destruction of property, or people getting hurt or destruction of property. Then we move to consequence management.

HARLOW: Right.

GAGLIANO: Which is working this from the perspective of, let's find the bad guys who did this, let's try to get out in front of this. Obviously we want to make sure that there's no more devices that have been sent out. No one else is conspiring to do more.

HARLOW: Well, in -- I mean this is an area, you guys will remember, it was a few -- just a few years ago, a Saturday night I believe, when I was on the air and there were the explosive devices placed in the trash cans in lower Manhattan, in Chelsea, if you remember that. And the surveillance camera is what was key here in tracking them down. You've got to believe there are many surveillance cameras right around here.

GAGLIANO: Sure. So a city like Manhattan -- the five boroughs of New York, 8.6 million people, almost every square block of this city is covered with video camera and surveillance. You've also got the NYPD moving through here, license plate scanners, we've got easy pass, we've got social media platforms. So many things that the FBI and law enforcement right now can work to try to track back. But, again, that is secondary, finding the bad guys who did this and bringing them to justice.

HARLOW: Right.

GAGLIANO: The first thing is making sure that no one else is in line to get hurt from one of these devices.

HARLOW: Yes.

SCIUTTO: James Gagliano, thanks very much for you analysis.

HARLOW: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Poppy and I sending it back to you, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Jim and Poppy, thanks so much.

And there's something I was talking about with Art that I would like to bring you all in on, which is one of the -- there are a lot of weird and unsettling things about all this news, starting with the device sent to George Soros' home --

RODERICK: Right.

TAPPER: And then obviously to the Clintons, the Obamas, and then to CNN.

The package to CNN was addressed to John Brennan, the former CIA director under President Obama, who's been a very ferocious critic of President Trump. John Brennan does not work for CNN. John Brennan has a commentating contract with MSNBC and NBC, not with CNN. What would that fact mean to you as an investigator, the idea that they're sending this to him at a place he does not work.

RODERICK: Right.

TAPPER: Is this somebody who is uninformed? Is this somebody who is trying to throw us off the track? What would you make of it?

RODERICK: It does show a level of unsophistication. But I also thought what was interesting, as reported by Jim and Poppy earlier, is that the package was mailed to 10 Time-Warner Center, which is not the actual address. If you Google it, that will come up as the actual address for CNN, but it's not really the mailing address. So this could have been simply an individual going online pulling up addresses. But it does show a level of unsophistication that law enforcement will key into is, how were these packages mailed, how were they addressed, what was the return address on them, and what was the delivery point, was it Postal Service, UPS, was it hand delivered, as we heard in George Soros' mailbox.

TAPPER: Yes. RODERICK: So that is all going to play into it. And it is interesting that it appears that these were -- had different points of delivery used to get them to their specific locations.

TAPPER: And we should not that there is some other news right now in San Diego. The San Diego Police are currently investigating a suspicious package and they've closed off a section of Sixth Avenue in that city where the "San Diego Union Tribune" is located, according to Officer Billy Hernandez.

And this, again, we were talking about this, we don't know if this is just everybody on heightened alert, or if there are a whole bunch more of these packages.

RODERICK: Yes, we've seen this before. Everybody's on heightened alert, so anything that doesn't look right is going to be reported. Bomb squads around the country, unfortunately, are going to be busy here for the next 24 hours, to determine if any of these other devices were out there. But a lot of reported suspicious packages are going to turn out to be somebody's cookies, somebody's lunch, a package that got mailed from Amazon or wherever. So it's going to be a busy time here for law enforcement for the next 24 to 48 hours.

TAPPER: I want to go back to Josh Campbell. And, Josh, you say the notion of who these devices, these suspicious packages, were mailed to, the fact that there is this common thread, that they are enemies of President Trump, enemies of Trumpism, at least they're perceived as being that, that that's important.

CAMPBELL: It is important because as we start an investigation, obviously we have a lot of questions. But if you are sitting at the Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York City right now, the FBI, NYPD, ATF, all these agencies, you start with what you know, and that is a glaring commonality that the targets were Democrats, progressive, Brennan is the outlier, but obviously someone who's been very critical of President Trump. So you start working back and try and determine what is motivating the person to do this. And, again that's a glaring commonality.

Three's another factor, which is the forensics, which will be going on separately, where investigators will be trying to link devices and, you know, go through and determine, is there DNA in these devices, some type of maybe hair fiber, what's the construction, what's the material. That will be taking place.

[12:29:58] But, again, from a pure criminality standpoint, trying to get into the mind of the person that's doing that, you can't lose sight that this looks like an attack on Democrats and progressives. That is a big clue now.