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CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta shared an image of the pipe bomb sent to the network’s New York City studio on Wednesday morning. Twitter users quickly spotted what appears to be an Islamic State flag on the device.
Photos of the bomb and package sent to CNN pic.twitter.com/nBq3ArtChJ— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) October 24, 2018
In the photograph, the explosive can be seen resting next to the brown envelope in which it was mailed, addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, who has appeared on CNN as a commentator.
By zooming in on the image, several keen-eyed Twitter users were able to make out the black flag of the infamous Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS. Photos on Twitter show what looks like the flag’s white logo and text on a black background taped to the device.
This looks like an ISIS flag on the pipebomb sent to CNN/Brennan pic.twitter.com/fNVFqEseA6— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) October 24, 2018
First picture from this angle — it looks like there's an ISIS flag sticker on the device: https://t.co/0nEBtCbbbb— Ellie Hall (@ellievhall) October 24, 2018
Some prominent right-wing commentators and news outlets quickly promoted the observation.
A Daily Beast journalist has pointed out a clue to the motive behind the mail bombings that was hiding in plain sight – what appears to be an ISIS flag on the package addressed to John Brennan and CNN. https://t.co/vz50cpEAq5— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) October 24, 2018
Others users are skeptical that the emblem is a clue to who might be behind the bomb, suggesting instead that the flag is there to mislead.
That's also why the ISIS flag was placed on the bomb. The bomb maker/makers knew this would get flagged in screening, found and then reported on like crazy.— Jason Buttrill (@JasonButtrill) October 24, 2018
The bomb, which investigators say was delivered by courier, is one of several that were intercepted on Wednesday. Packages containing potential explosives were sent to high-profile Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and another was discovered at the offices of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.).
Wasserman Schultz’s name and address was given on the CNN’s suspect parcel as a return address.
The U.S. Secret Service described the devices as “rudimentary but functional” and pipe bomb-like, containing explosive powder and projectiles like shards of glass.
Law enforcement agencies are still working to identify who might be behind the string of attacks.
David Gilmour is a reporter who specializes in national politics, internet culture, and technology. He previously covered civil liberties, crime, and politics for Vice.