NJ Homeland Security director warns public to be vigilant after mail bombs

Posted: Updated:
NEWARK -

Before pipe bombs made their way through the U.S. mail targeted at the nation’s top Democrats, New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security was already warning that “domestic extremism” is one of the tops threats in the state.

New Jersey Homeland Security Director Jared Maples says that due to earlier incidents like the 2001 anthrax attacks and the Unabomber, mail processing facilities have safeguards in place in the event a suspicious package comes through.

“They are checking for a variety of things from explosives, to certain metals, to certain weight calibrations,” Maples says.

The director says that there are also new methodologies for spotting suspicious behaviors in the senders and red flags about the packages themselves.

RELATED: Investigators treating packages as 'live devices,' not hoax

“Things like too many postage stamps and misspelled words,” says Maples, “Or a return address that doesn’t make sense.”

The packages sent this week to top Democrats like Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama and George Soros have all had return addresses of Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Maples was appointed New Jersey Homeland Security director last year after 10 years at the CIA. He says political terrorism like this is one of the top threats right now in New Jersey and across the country.

“Our past annual threat report that we just put out a few months ago highlighted the domestic extremism piece,” Maples says. “That is something we're concerned about in New Jersey and something we do help coordinate, track and try to make sure we can get out ahead of again and try to prevent it.”

Maples is asking the public to remain vigilant as the FBI warns that more suspicious packages may be discovered. He urges anyone who finds one to contact 911 or the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security.

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