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DC’s Director of Homeland Security urges vigilance after suspicious packages surface

Officers with the Uniform Division of the United States Secret Service talk at a checkpoint near the home of President Barack Obama, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018, in Washington. The U.S. Secret Service says agents have intercepted packages containing "possible explosive devices" addressed to former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Investigators in our area are still on high alert after two suspicious packages were intercepted on their way to the District.

The first was addressed to former President Barack Obama, at his home in the Kalorama neighborhood of Northwest Washington. That package never made it to Obama’s home. Instead, authorities say it was identified and intercepted at a Secret Service mail screening facility located at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.

The second package was intercepted at a mail screening facility in Capitol Heights, Maryland. It was addressed to Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ office on the Hill.

“It certainly is cause for concern. This is the new threat environment we live in, and these types of attacks, this type of domestic terrorism does exist in this day and age,” said Dr. Christopher Rodriguez.

Rodriguez is the director of the District’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency. Before that, he worked as a senior analyst in the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center.

“We need to make sure the public, as residents, we need to understand that we are the first line of defense. And if you see something, you need to say something,” he said.

Rodriguez urged vigilance among fears that more of these envelopes containing explosive devices could be on the way.

“See something, say something is not a cliché,” he said. “And I know from my years at the CIA, right after 9/11, I know that see something, say something has actually saved lives.”

Rodriguez said local authorities are working closely with their federal partners as the search for the person or persons behind these suspicious packages continues.

Anyone with information that could assist the investigation is urged to call 1-800-CALLFBI.

The Kalorama neighborhood where the Obamas live is already heavily guarded by Secret Service and considered one of the most secure neighborhoods in the District.

On the local level, Rodriguez said the District would be increasing security at DC facilities, including the Wilson Building, city agencies, public recreation centers, and schools.

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