A device found outside a suburban New York residential compound owned by Jewish philanthropist George Soros “had the components” of an actual and active bomb, including explosive powder, a law enforcement official said Tuesday.
“The components were there for an explosive device,” said the official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the continuing investigation. “It was not a hoax device.”
The official said the investigators were reviewing surveillance video Tuesday to determine whether the package had been sent through the mail or otherwise delivered.
Among the unanswered questions was whether the package was addressed to Soros, the billionaire who is a frequent target of right-wing conspiracy theories.
The Bedford Police Department said it responded to the address in the hamlet of Katonah, part of the Town of Bedford, at 3:45 p.m.
A security officer who worked at the compound placed the package in a wooded area and called police, who alerted the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Bedford police said the FBI’s terrorism task force was investigating.
The FBI’s New York field office said on Twitter that there was “no threat to public safety.”
A message emailed to Soros’ foundation wasn’t immediately returned.
Soros, who made his fortune in hedge funds, frequently donates to liberal causes, and is vilified on the right.
Activists frequently post the addresses of homes he owns in Westchester County, north of New York City, on social media, sometimes accompanied by ill wishes.
Recently, conservative critics have, without evidence, accused him of secretly financing a caravan of Central American migrants to make their way north toward Mexico and the US.
Soros, a Holocaust survivor, has also been the target of anti-Semitic smears. Some have falsely accused him of being a Nazi collaborator during World War II, when he was a child in Hungary.
US President Donald Trump’s claimed that demonstrators against his beleaguered Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh were paid by Soros, with some accusing the president of spreading an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory and a major American newspaper calling out his statement as flagrantly untrue.
Last week fliers blaming Jews for the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh depicting Soros were found in seemingly random locations around the United States.
Earlier this month Rudy Giuliani — former New York City mayor and current lawyer for President Donald Trump — retweeted a tweet calling George Soros the “anti-Christ.” The original tweet also suggested that Soros’ assets should be frozen.
In May, actress Roseanne Barr came under fire for a tweet repeating a falsehood popular in some conservative circles that the liberal billionaire was a Nazi collaborator — a narrative that has problematic echoes in Holocaust denial.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban came under fire for launching a poster campaign targeting the Hungarian-born Soros, accusing him of seeking to flood the country with refugees.