The threat that prompted the closure of schools throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District was likely a hoax, a congressman and ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence said.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) made the assessment in a statement after receiving a preliminary briefing on the threat.
“While we continue to gather information about the threat made against the Los Angeles and New York School Departments, the preliminary assessment is that it was a hoax or something designed to disrupt school districts in large cities,” Schiff said. “The investigation is ongoing as to where the threat originated from and who was responsible.”
Schiff added, “The safety of our communities and particularly our young people is paramount. At the same time, in an environment in which it is very easy to transmit threats, real and otherwise, and when fear and disruption may be the goal as well as the effect, communities and law enforcement will need to make a difficult judgment as to how to respond in a variety of circumstances. The goal of the intelligence and federal law enforcement community should be to assist local authorities with as timely information as possible to help inform those judgments. I will continue to urge the intelligence and federal law enforcement community to share as much information as it can, as quickly as it is able.”
During a press conference Tuesday, Los Angeles Police Department chief Charlie Beck declined to say whether he viewed the threat as credible. However, he said that the threat involved explosive devices and machine pistols.
Beck also said that it’s believed the threats came from someplace “much closer” than Germany, where the IP address of the email account used to send the threat is based.