Juan Thompson, a Missouri journalist, has been charged by federal authorities for a line of bomb threats against Jewish communities centers, schools and history museums, and many places which offer service to their respective Jewish communities. On February 1st, he made a threat against a school in which he claimed to have placed two bombs and was “eager for Jewish Newton.”
He has both made threats under his name and that of his ex-girlfriend which was done as a way to intimidate her.
Back in January, according to the Anti-Defamation league, over 16 states received bomb threats, Jewish community centers were a few targeted across the states Massachusetts, Maine, and Connecticut. There is no confirmed surety that Mr. Thompson was connected or is believed to have been the reason behind the majority, but with this set of threats, it’s important to note the cycle of threats that have been circling the country.
Not long ago, there was a hate crime committed at the Waad Hakolel Cemetery in Rochester New York in which at least a dozen tombstones were toppled at a Jewish cemetery. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said about the incident, “The family of New York – people of all creeds, colors, and backgrounds – have witnessed a dramatic increase in acts of hate and intolerance. The State Police Hate Crimes Task Force, in partnership with federal and local authorities, have launched aggressive investigations into reported hate crimes across the state.”
There has been heightening levels of anti-Semitic rhetoric since the beginning of the year, which has even lead Donald Trump to condemn this discrimination that is often connected with his administration.”The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community, and community centers are horrible and are painful and are a very sad reminder of the work that must still be done to rule out hate,” said Donald Trump last February during a visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C.
There was a complaint signed by FBI agent Christopher Millis which states that he “used the mail, any interactive computer service, electronic communication services and electronic communication system of interstate commerce” to exclaim an intent to kill, injure, harass, intimidate and place under surveillance another person. The F.B.I had already been instigating the threats made against Jewish communities when they came up with the conclusion that Mr.Thompson had a roll in it.
Mr. Thompson’s former employer, The Intercept, a website that is “dedicated to producing fearless, adversarial journalism” released a statement regarding the arrest of Thompson. “We were horrified to learn this morning that Juan Thompson, a former employee of The Intercept, has been arrested in connection with bomb threats against the ADL and multiple Jewish Community Centers in addition to cyber stalking,” read the statement. He was previously fired for fabricating quotes and sources for his articles.
Mr. Thompson was arrested Friday morning on a count of cyber-stalking and is set to be presented in a court federal court on St. Louis later on Friday.