A Look at How FBI Analysts Will Examine Suspicious Devices Linked to Accused Mail Bomb Suspect - NBC Bay Area
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A Look at How FBI Analysts Will Examine Suspicious Devices Linked to Accused Mail Bomb Suspect

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    A Look at How FBI Analysts Will Examine Suspicious Devices

    The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit examines how FBI analysts will take a look at the suspicious device found in Burlingame. Senior Investigative Reporter Stephen Stock reports. (Published Friday, Oct. 26, 2018)

    Federal law enforcement sources say explosives experts neutralized a suspicious device at San Francisco International Airport around 2 p.m. Friday.

    The device was addressed to billionaire Democrat Tom Steyer and was found at a Burlingame postal sorting facility. It is one of at least 14 packages the FBI has linked to accused mail bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc of Florida.

    Sayoc, arrested early Friday, is accused of sending suspicious devices to CNN, CNN, Barack Obama, California Congresswoman Maxine Waters and other key Democrats earlier this week, sending local law enforcement and citizens into a state of panic.

    Sources tell NBC Bay Area a New York division of the FBI and ATF are the lead agencies in the case involving Steyer. The entire operation is being directed out of Washington, D.C, sources said.

    The joint terrorism task force in San Francisco is also running an investigation in the Bay Area and Sacramento. Authorities moved the suspicious device found in Burlingame to SFO as a precaution -- first for the public, and then for those experts to try to neutralize it without having to detonate it or blow it up.

    Why? Because experts want to preserve the package for forensic and evidence purposes. It is likely the package will be sent east to the FBI academy in Quantico, Virginia, where it will be compared with the dozen or so other devices around the country.

    The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit over the summer got an exclusive behind the scene look at the FBI explosives lab and the team who works there at an undisclosed location in the East Bay.

    The team the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit observed was the crew that ran the investigation into the Unabomber, helped with the forensics after 9-11 and also worked evidence in the San Bernardino mass shooting.

    FBI crews will be using tools to trace information such as fingerprints, DNA and other evidence that is left behind on devices.

    Things the FBI analysts will be looking for to match these devices include handwriting and return addresses on the devices. They will also be looking for similarities in the construction of these bombs, including components and styles.

    If analysts match any of those things they are more confident the packages and devices came from the same origins.

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