CNN Evacuates New York City Office Amid Reports of Suspicious Package After Explosive Devices Sent to Clinton and Obama Homes
CNN's office in New York City was evacuated on Wednesday amid reports of a suspicious package, authorities and employees said.
The CNN reporters Jim Sciutto and Jake Tapper tweeted that the package was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, who frequently appears on the network and has been critical of President Donald Trump.
The network was broadcasting live when a fire alarm went off in the Time Warner Center in midtown Manhattan.
Footage showed Sciutto and Poppy Harlow explaining that a fire alarm had gone off, while employees could be seen leaving the studio. The network cut to commercial.
CNN reporters tweeted photos showing a heavy police response at the scene, and people in the area received emergency alerts on their smartphones telling them to shelter in place.
Everyone at CNN NY being evacuated. Swarms of NYPD outside — I wasn’t allowed to grab a coat or any of my belongings — told to immediately go to staircase pic.twitter.com/rtcAoKS6y9— MJ Lee (@mj_lee) October 24, 2018
This just went out via emergency alert system pic.twitter.com/Ev91BsKGE5— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) October 24, 2018
The New York Police Department advised people to avoid the Columbus Circle area because of the police activity there.
"Officers are investigating a suspicious package in Columbus Circle," the NYPD tweeted. "Please avoid the area. Expect a police presence and heavy traffic in the area."
CNN's president, Jeff Zucker, told employees in a statement that the package was received in the building's mail room and that he was "working with authorities to determine the severity of the situation."
He added that the network was checking all of its bureaus around the world "out of a complete abundance of caution."
Shimon Prokupecz, a CNN reporter, said on the air that the package was deemed suspicious because an X-ray showed it had metal and wires.
'A full scope criminal investigation'
Brian Stelter, CNN's chief media correspondent, said the package arrived in the mailroom around 9:30 a.m.
The incident came amid reports that the Secret Service had intercepted explosive devices mailed to the residences of Bill and Hillary Clinton in Chappaqua, N.Y., and former President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C.
"The Secret Service has initiated a full scope criminal investigation that will leverage all available federal, state, and local resources to determine the source of the packages and identify those responsible," the Secret Service said in a statement.
On Monday, an explosive device was found at the home of the billionaire Democratic donor George Soros in Bedford, N.Y.
The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, denounced the incidents on Wednesday.
"The White House condemns these types of horrific and despicable acts, and we'll work with law enforcement to make sure anybody responsible is punished to the full extent of the law," she told reporters. "Certainly it's OK to disagree in politics, but it's never OK to take action against another individual, and we certainly don't want to see that happen."