Fake-news writer ac­cused of mak­ing bomb threats

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY DANIEL SUGARMAN

A MAN ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of be­ing be­hind eight of the bomb threats made against Jewish Amer­i­can in­sti­tu­tions in the past two months is a for­mer jour­nal­ist who was fired for fab­ri­cat­ing sources and quotes.

Juan Thomp­son, of Mis­souri, ap­peared in court on Fri­day in St Louis. He has been charged with cy­ber­stalk­ing by New York State.

Between Novem­ber

2014 and Jan­uary 2016, Mr Thomp­son worked for the In­ter­cept, a news web­site co-edited by con­tro­ver­sial jour­nal­ist Glenn Green­wald that has re­ported ex­ten­sively on doc­u­ments re­leased by for­mer Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency con­trac­tor Ed­ward Snow­den.

Ac­cord­ing to prose­cu­tors, in some cases Mr Thomp­son emailed threats to Jewish in­sti­tu­tions us­ing the name of a woman he de­scribed as his ex-girl­friend. In oth­ers, he used his own name and then claimed she had hacked his email ac­count.

He then tweeted: “Know any good lawyers? Need to stop this nasty/racist #white­girl I dated who sent a bomb threat in my name & wants me to be raped in jail.”

While he al­legedly made the hoax bomb calls, the 31-year-old tweeted a se­ries of mes­sages sup­port­ive of the Jewish com­mu­nity.

On Fe­bru­ary 26, in re­sponse to the des­e­cra­tion of a Jewish ceme­tery, he tweeted: “And ppl says [sic] Jews don’t face big­otry and vi­o­lence. How would you feel if nasty white ppl de­stroyed MLK’s gravesite? #philadel­phia”

At one point, Mr Thomp­son tweeted: “Another week, another round of threats against Jewish ppl. In the mid­dle of the day, you know who’s at a JCC? Kids. KIDS.”

The In­ter­cept said in a state­ment it was “hor­ri­fied” to hear of Mr Thomp­son’s ar­rest, and that the al­leged ac­tions were “heinous and should be fully in­ves­ti­gated and pros­e­cuted”.

The state­ment went on to say Mr Thomp­son “was fired af­ter we dis­cov­ered that he had fab­ri­cated sources and quotes in his ar­ti­cles.”

Fed­eral au­thor­i­ties have made it clear that they did not think Mr Thomp­son was be­hind more than a hand­ful of the bomb threats.

Evan Bern­stein, the New York re­gional di­rec­tor at the Anti-Defama­tion League, whose of­fices were hit by threats on Tuesday, said Jewish “com­mu­ni­ties are hurt­ing.

“There are many more JCC bomb threats that have not been solved. We hope all law en­force­ment will con­tinue to be dili­gent,” he said.

A sixth wave of bomb threats hit Jewish in­sti­tu­tions and schools on Monday and Tuesday.

Ar­rested: Thomp­son

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