Eastern District of Washington U.S. Attorney Jim McDevitt stood behind the decision not to disclose the discovery of a bomb last month near the federal courthouse in Spokane, Wash., The Spokesman-Review reported Thursday.
The bomb was found March 28 and federal officials acknowledged the find Wednesday after Newsweek reported on Friday that an “improvised explosive device” was found outside the Thomas S. Foley U.S. Courthouse.
“It’s an ongoing criminal investigation,” McDevitt told the newspaper. “Basically, that’s all we can say.”
Tom Rice, the spokesman for the Spokane-based U.S. Attorney’s office, declined to disclose details on the suspects or the device to The Spokesman-Review.
“I will be guarded in what I say. We would confirm that a device was located. But that’s as far as we are going to go,” Rice said. “The appropriate people in the courthouse were notified. … (W)e didn’t want to compromise the active investigation.”
McDevitt, a holdover from the George W. Bush administration, hinted that the explosive device was not a major threat to the surrounding area, as people in nearby buildings weren’t notified about the bomb.
“I’m not sure if members of the public or people in neighboring buildings were in danger,” he told the newspaper “I’m not an expert but … the device was not something that, from my standpoint, would have done any harm except to the immediate area … the area within feet.”
The bomb finding comes at a time of heightened tension in Washington state over the national health care law enacted last month. On Tuesday, the Western District of Washington U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that a man was arrested for making death threats against Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.)