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Former FBI Director Weighs In On Pipe Bomb Investigation

NOEL KING, HOST:

OK. Joining us now is former FBI Deputy Director John Pistole. He's here to help us understand more about what investigators could be looking for. Good morning, sir.

JOHN PISTOLE: Good morning.

KING: All right. We spoke to you just a couple of hours ago. And you said, you know, this might not be over. There could be more packages out there. It turns out that you were, in fact, correct. What do you think about how this is developing?

PISTOLE: Well, so the question that the investigators are looking at is, is this part of a pattern of a larger plot, a conspiracy? Is there some systemic and pervasive actors who are doing this that goes beyond just one individual? So that's a concern that they would have, to say, is this something much broader than the individual six or seven packages? And now with these two additional ones, it expands the scope of the investigation obviously. But it also gives investigators additional evidence, if you will, in terms of, again, the signature of the bomber, the individuals who might be involved in terms of delivering packages if they delivered by couriers. So it actually can be helpful in hopefully mitigating any additional risks.

But if you think back to 9/11, for example - not that this is in any way comparable, of course - but just in terms of, was that the first wave of attacks? I mean, that's what we were all dealing with at the time. Is that the first wave of attacks? Is there a second wave coming? And so it's just the natural inclination, as investigators say. What else is going to happen before we can identify and hold this person accountable?

KING: Well, we've been talking to colleagues in New York this morning and to New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo, who said that law enforcement - additional law enforcement will be deployed. I mean, it brings up a - an important question, maybe a difficult one to answer. Should people be worried, and how worried should they be?

PISTOLE: Well, I think people should be cautious and aware, particularly given the pattern of these packages that, obviously, if they receive a package - and, of course, if they are a prominent person that fits into the similar profiles as ones already received - clearly, they should not be opening packages that are similar. But even if they're something that is unknown or suspicious, yeah, just out of an abundance of caution, just exercise that due diligence to say, OK, let me take an extra step here, perhaps call the police or whomever - the Postal Inspector, Secret Service, whatever it may be. The joint terrorism task forces in New York and D.C., of course, are leading those investigations. So yeah, I think an abundance of caution given the fact that the person or persons has not been caught yet.

KING: These devices thankfully and interestingly have not detonated, which I assume leaves even more evidence in the hands of investigators. Does that give them an advantage that these explosive devices are not exploding?

PISTOLE: Well, it does because, again, it gets to the signature of the bomber or bombers. So are all the devices nearly identical in terms of the composition of the material that is in it? Are they constructed similarly in terms of what's inside the powder, the piping, the PVC, you know, or whatever the components are. And if there is a consistency there, which it sounds like based on media reporting, then that is clearly great leads for the investigators to follow up on. If they are different types of devices, then that can either help or hinder the investigation depending on what other leads they have.

KING: John Pistole is a former deputy director of the FBI, and he's currently the president of Anderson University. Thank you, Mr. Pistole.

PISTOLE: Thank you. Good day. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.