The FBI has arrested Juan Thompson, a former reporter for The Intercept who was fired for fabricating sources, in connection with a string of bomb threats targeted at JCCs in recent weeks. He is charged with one count of cyberstalking and will appear in federal court in St. Louis on Friday. The investigation is ongoing.
According to an affidavit unsealed on Friday, the FBI has stated that Thompson “appears to have made some of the JCC threats as part of a sustained campaign to harass and intimidate” an ex-girlfriend. Thompson, 31, also allegedly harassed her via email and text message, and reached out directly to her place of employment in what her lawyer has called “scorched earth attacks for months.” After their break-up, Thompson’s former girlfriend took out an “order of protection” against Thompson.
Thompson’s alleged JCC threats were made in January and February. According to the affidavit, he made “at least 8 threats nationwide as part of his campaign of harassment.” Some of them were made in the name of his ex-girlfriend, and some were made in his own name, although Thompson claims these were made by his former girlfriend to implicate him.
Here is how the affidavit alleges Thompson made the bomb threats:
— He emailed the ADL on February 21, stating that his former girlfriend “is behind the bomb threats against Jews” and that she would be making more the next day.
— The next day, the ADL received a phone call from a jumbled voice claiming there was C-4 in their New York office. None was found.
— An email (from an email generator) was sent to the Council on American Islamic Relations stating that Thompson’s ex-girlfriend had placed a bomb at the JCC in Dallas, Texas.
— On Feb. 20, the San Diego JCC received an email telling the center that Thompson’s former girlfriend had placed a bomb there, that she hates Jewish people, that she was the head of a “ring” and wants to kill as many Jews asap.”
Prior, threats were first made in Thompson’s name:
— On Jan 28, the Jewish Center in Manhattan was threatened with an email that said: “Juan Thompson put 2 bombs in the History Museum set to go off Sunday.”
— On February 1, a school in Michigan received an email saying that Thompson was “eager for Jewish newtown” and that he had placed two bombs inside the Farmington Hills school.
— Another school in Manhattan received the same threat the same day.
— On February 7, the JCC in Manhattan received a similar threat, apparently from Thompson.
Thompson has also posted these messages on Twitter, in apparent connection/response to the investigation.
Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.