Suspicious Packages Not Sent to White House, Secret Service Says

By Zachary Stieber

Suspicious packages were not sent to the White House on Oct. 24, despite a report from CNN. Another report of a suspicious package being sent to the office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that was initially denied by his spokesman was later confirmed by Cuomo.

The false reports came amid reports of a number of packages sent to New York and Washington, including one sent to the New York state home of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

That package, along with another sent to former President Barack Obama, were intercepted by the Secret Service and posed no danger to the Clintons or Obama, the Secret Service said. A third package was discovered in the mailroom at the Time Warner Center and triggered an evacuation of CNN headquarters there, in addition to other offices in the building.

But two false suspicious package reports emerged on Wednesday as well, once again highlighting the danger of relying on anonymous sources.

CNN reported that a suspicious package addressed to the White House was also intercepted by the Secret Service but had to retract the report after the Secret Service said it was incorrect.

Evan Perez, a senior justice correspondent for the network, and Mary Kay Mallonee reported the claim, citing an anonymous official. The claim was promoted by CNN host Jake Tapper, who later deleted a tweet about it. “Perez says law enforcement confusion led to that inaccurate report,” Tapper wrote on Twitter.

The story about the “pipe bomb addressed to the White House” being intercepted was still live with no correction as of 11:50 a.m., one hour and 15 minutes after it was first reported and 42 minutes after the Secret Service released a statement saying it was false.

“Reports of a third intercepted package addressed to the WH are incorrect,” the Secret Service said in a statement rebutting CNN’s reporting.

Neither Perez or Mallonee issued a retraction on Twitter.

Cuomo Report

Another report, from ABC, said that the New York City office of Cuomo had been sent a suspicious package.

A spokesman for Cuomo told reporters on Twitter that Cuomo had not received a package.

But Cuomo said at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon that he did receive a package.

It’s unclear why the spokesman denied the report. ABC had conveyed the denial and corrected its original story but apparently, its original reporting was correct.