Hot off the presses from The Politico:
Eight House Democrats were mailed a letter and photo of a Times Square recruiting station in Manhattan before it was bombed this morning, according to House insiders.
The letter did not contain any specific threats against the lawmakers or the site, but the U.S. Capitol Police and FBI are now investigating the matter.
It was unclear which lawmakers received the letters or when, but House aides confirmed they were all Democrats.
Update – The letters and pictures went to Democrats representing N.Y. City-based congressional districts, according to House sources. It’s unclear if Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer received similar letters.
Here’s the latest on the bombing, via AP:
The bomb, contained in a metal ammunition box, produced a sudden flash and billowing cloud of white smoke at about 3:40 a.m. Thursday — a scene captured by numerous security video cameras. When the smoke cleared, there were no injuries, serious damage or clear indication of motive.
But like similar attacks on the British and Mexican consulates, the explosion frayed nerves of New Yorkers and tourists alike. Although authorities have not definitively linked the three attacks, the latest episode heightened speculation that they were the work of a lone bomber who, perhaps emboldened by his past success, sought out the bright lights of Times Square.
Times Square is ‘the crossroads of the world’ and we’re concerned about it,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said at a news conference where the NYPD released a video of the shadowy figure on a bicycle.
The blast prompted a huge police response, left a gaping hole in the front window and shattered a glass door, twisting and blackening the metal frame of the building. Guests at the nearby Marriott Marquis said they heard a “big bang” and felt the building shake.
“I thought it could have been thunder,” said Terry Leighton, 49, a Londoner staying on the 21st floor. “I looked down and there was a massive plume of smoke.”
The private security video, though too murky for police to get a clear description of the cyclist, shows a figure riding along a traffic island in the glow of neon signs at about 3:38 a.m and getting off the bike just outside the recruitment center. About two minutes later, the cyclist rides away. Then the explosion occurs.
Investigators were studying other security videos, including one showing a man exiting a subway station about 10 blocks away carrying a bicycle, police said. The FBI was analyzing forensic evidence collected at the scene, Kelly said.
The commissioner cited other possible clues: A new bike discovered at about 7 a.m. in a Dumpster just a few blocks from the blast, and the sighting of a man spotted on a bike near the scene moments before the explosion.
The man caught the attention of a witness because he was riding slowly, wearing a backpack and a hooded jacket, Kelly said. The witness, who was buying a newspaper at the time, said because of the hood, the rider’s face “was pretty much covered.”
Here’s video of the explosion:
Let’s hope they find this nutcase, before he strikes again. NYC’rs are a pretty resilient group, but things like this have to wear on your nerves after a while.
Update: Confirming what we all figured, this was the act of an anti-Iraq war nut:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Police are investigating letters that arrived Thursday at Capitol Hill offices containing a photo of the Times Square military recruiting office before it was bombed and including the claim “We Did It.”
The manila envelopes contained a photo of a man standing in front of the recruiting station, according to a Democratic aide who spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter is under investigation. The photo was the kind commonly sent as a holiday greeting card.
The message on the card: “Happy New Year, We Did It.”
The envelope also contained a packet of approximately 10 sheets of paper that seemed to be a political manifesto railing against the Iraq war and a booklet. The aide didn’t know what the booklet was.