Former Intercept journalist Juan Thompson has been arrested for making bomb threats against Jewish institutions, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York. Thompson was arrested in St. Louis, Missouri on Friday.
According to the statement from the D.A.’s office, he is suspected of being behind some of the recent threats against the Jewish community, but was not responsible for all of the calls or the vandalism that has occurred recently, as headstones also have been vandalized at Jewish cemeteries in Missouri, Pennsylvania and, most recently, upstate New York.
Thompson was fired from The Intercept last year after evidence emerged that he had fabricated quotations and impersonated people through fake email accounts. He was an employee of The Intercept from November 2014 until January 2016.
According to police records, it appears Thompson “made at least eight of the JCC Threats as part of a sustained campaign to harass and intimidate” a female.
“Everyone deserves to be free from fear and discrimination based on religion, race, or ethnicity; that is fundamental to who we are as a nation. Together with the FBI and the NYPD, we have been investigating the recent threats made on Jewish Community Centers in New York and around the country,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Friday. “Today, we have charged Juan Thompson with allegedly stalking a former romantic interest by, among other things, making bomb threats in her name to Jewish Community Centers and to the Anti-Defamation League.”
Bharara continued: “Threats of violence targeting people and places based on religion or race — whatever the motivation — are unacceptable, un-American, and criminal. We are committed to pursuing and prosecuting those who foment fear and hate through such criminal threats.”
Thompson’s former employees, The Intercept, also issued a statement on Friday, saying: “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 cyberstalking.
“These actions are heinous and should be fully investigated and prosecuted. We have no information about the charges against Thompson other than what is included in the criminal complaint.”
Last month, Thompson sent the following tweet:
Thompson is charged with one count of cyberstalking, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism & International Narcotics Unit and the General Crimes Unit. The investigation of other threats made to the Jewish community organizations in New York City is ongoing, according to the Southern District of New York.