The Transportation Security Administration is investigating reports of suspicious packages on UPS planes in Newark and Philadelphia. And now the NYPD bomb squad is investigating a UPS truck in downtown Brooklyn! Update: The packages have been cleared, but now officials think this might have been part of a dry run for a bomb-by-mail plot (more info below).
The TSA issued a statement saying it was "aware of and monitoring reports of potentially suspicious items onboard cargo flights that landed safely at Newark Liberty and Philadelphia International airports. Out of an abundance of caution the planes were moved to a remote location where they are being met by law enforcement officials and swept." The Star-Ledger says dozens of fire trucks are at the scene in Newark and the plane has been moved to a secure area.
Why the fuss? CNN reports a "manipulated" toner cartridge in a UPS package from Yemen to Chicago was found when the plane was stopped in London. The package tested negative for explosive material.
Update: The packages in Brooklyn, Newark and Philadelphia were cleared, but now it seems that officials think this was a dry run for a bomb-by-mail plot. Also, the device in London was a toner cartridge with white powder and wires coming from it (in Newark, the package was... reams of paper.)
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said:
Last night, intelligence and law enforcement agencies discovered potential suspicious packages on two planes in transit to the United States. Based on close cooperation among U.S. government agencies and with our foreign allies and partners, authorities were able to identify and examine two suspicious packages, one in London and one in Dubai. Both of these packages originated from Yemen. As a result of security precautions triggered by this threat, the additional measures were taken regarding the flights at Newark Liberty and Philadelphia International Airports.
The President was notified of a potential terrorist threat on Thursday night at 10:30, by John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism. The President directed U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and the Department of Homeland Security, to take steps to ensure the safety and security of the American people, and to determine whether these threats are a part of any additional terrorist plotting. The President has received regular updates from his national security team since he was alerted to the threat.