The nature of pipe bombs could make the terrorist hard to find … if that terrorist wasn't an idiot
As of noon on Wednesday, at least seven explosive devices have been identified. Six of those devices were targeted at investor George Soros, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, CNN, former attorney general Eric Holder, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. A seventh device was stopped at the Congressional Mail Facility. It appears that the device at the mail facility was targeted at Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters. Because the device that was targeted at Holder had an incorrect address, it was re-routed to the building containing offices of Congresswoman Deborah Wasserman Schultz which was what was put on the envelope as a return address.
The fact that the device sent to Soros was apparently hand-delivered to his mailbox, rather than coming through the post, suggests that the bomber was at least temporarily resident in the New York City area. The fact that Cuomo is on the list suggests that the bomber, if it is just one person, may call New York home. The targets of all the bombs appear to be people who Trump has singled out for attacks in his tweets and rally speeches. While Cuomo has been a critic of Trump, he would not exactly be the first, or even the seventh, on the list for most people naming Trump critics.
Images and information about the devices suggest these are simply pipe bombs. There is a timer, which can be as simple as a mechanical timer or activator, some form of initiator, and a cylinder full of black powder. Every image and description suggests that these are simple, even crude, devices. Instructions for making such devices are not only available in a number of books, but at thousands of sites. And the explosive agent is readily available from almost any store that sells guns, but unlike buying a gun, buying black powder—even in relatively large amounts—doesn’t require so much as filling out a form.
If the bomber was smart, the simplicity of the devices could make determining their origin difficult. There is nothing to them, as currently imaged and described, that could not be obtained in a visit to a hardware storm and a sporting goods store anywhere in the country. Their construction also seems dead simple … no pun intended.
The bomber, however, is clearly not smart because the means of distribution was barely short of idiotic. None of the devices, short of the one hand-delivered to Soros, appears to have made it through the postal system to arrive at the target. The size and design of the devices, paired with packaging that might as well have been stamped “Contents: One Pipe Bomb” seems to have all but ensured that these devices would be stopped short of their targets. That level of dunderheadedness suggests that these devices are likely to be riddled with both literal and metaphorical fingerprints.