FBI Says RNC, DNC Pipe Bombs Placed Night Before Capitol Riot

January 29, 2021 by Dan McCue
The FBI is looking for information about the pipe bombs at the RNC and DNC that were placed around the time of the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. (Courtesy FBI)

WASHINGTON – Investigators now believe that pipe bombs left at the offices of the Republican and Democratic national committees earlier this month were actually placed at both locations the night before thousands of Pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol.

According to a tweet posted by the FBI’s District of Columbia field office Friday, the explosive devices were placed outside the two buildings between 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 5.

They were located by law enforcement the afternoon of Jan. 6, shortly before the rioters breached the Capitol.

U.S. Capitol Police and agents from the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were called to the Republican National Committee’s office around 12:45 p.m. that day.

About 30 minutes later, as the agents and bomb technicians were still investigating at the RNC, another call came in for a second, similar explosive device found at the Democratic National Committee headquarters nearby.

The two explosive devices were very similar, and both were about a foot long with end caps and wiring that appeared to be attached to a timer, according to officials familiar with the matter.

 Investigators are still examining the devices and their components to determine the specific compounds inside the pipe bombs, but they both appeared to contain an unknown powder and some metal.

It is not clear whether that means the pipe bombs were unrelated to the next day’s riot or were part of the riot planning. Both buildings are within a few blocks of the Capitol.

The incident has been particularly concerning for law enforcement as officials step up security preparations ahead of the Senate’s impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. 

For weeks, investigators have been worried about the potential for attacks on soft targets in the nation’s capital.

The officials could not discuss an ongoing investigation publicly.

The FBI released additional photos of the explosive devices on Friday, including a photograph that showed one of the devices placed underneath a bush. Officials have also increased the reward in the case to $100,000.

On Friday, the FBI said the person wore a gray hooded sweatshirt, a face mask and Nike Air Max Speed Turf sneakers in yellow, black and gray, and had been carrying a backpack.

Authorities are asking anyone with information about the individual seen in surveillance photographs to call 1800CALLFBI or submit online at http://tips.fbi.gov. https://fbi.gov/wanted/seeking-info/suspected-pipe-bombs-in-washington-dc.

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