'These were not hoax devices'—FBI, DOJ announce charges against MAGA bomber suspect
A Friday afternoon press conference brought onstage Attorney General Jefferson Sessions, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Geoffrey Berman the US attorney from the Southern District of New York, along with representatives from the NYPD, Postal authorities, and other agencies to announce the arrest of suspected terrorist Cesar Sayoc. Sayoc has been charged with five federal felonies bringing potential penalties of 58 years in prison.
Sessions limited his comments to praise for the agencies involved and notably avoided naming any of the targets of the bomber. As Trump had done earlier in the day, he described CNN only as “a media outlet” and added to the list of vague terms “a Hollywood actor” to describe Robert De Niro. He named neither the suspect nor any target.
However, FBI Director Christopher Wray and US Attorney Geoffrey Berman did step up to not only name Sayoc, but list the targets of the attacks. Wray also gave right-wing claims that the devices were “fake” or a “hoax” a firm kick by identifying the pipe bombs using the term “IED,” the same term used for explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan. To make it even more clear … he said it clearly.
Wray: These were not ‘hoax’ devices.
Wray credited FBI analysts for locating a fingerprint on the device that was sent to the office of Congresswoman Maxine Waters as the definitive clue that led them to Sayoc. DNA samples obtained from two other devices were also important in definitively identifying the suspect.
At present, the charges against Sayoc do not include any charges involving “weapons of mass destruction” or direct charges of terrorism. However, there remain ten days in which additional charges could be filed before Sayoc is indicted.
Current charges include: Interstate Transportation of an Explosive, Illegal Mailing of Explosives, Threats Against Former Presidents and Certain Other Persons, Threatening Interstate Communications, and Assaulting Federal Officers.
Authorities caution that additional packages may still be out there. Sayoc has stopped cooperating with authorities, and may have sent additional bombs.