The St. Louis man suspected of making at least eight of the more than 100 hoax bomb threats against Jewish institutions across the US, as part of a bizarre cyber-stalking campaign to harass an ex-partner according to federal officials, tweeted on a number of occasions against the wave of bomb threats and acts of vandalism and desecration at Jewish cemeteries.
Juan Thompson, 31, a former journalist fired for fabricating sources and quotes, was arrested in St. Louis and appeared there in federal court Friday on a cyber-stalking charge. He politely answered questions and told the judge he had enough money to hire a lawyer. A crowd of supporters who attended would say only that Thompson had no criminal record. His lawyer didn’t comment.
Federal officials have been investigating 122 bomb threats called in to Jewish organizations in three dozen states since January 9 as well as a rash of vandalism at Jewish cemeteries, including in St. Louis, Missouri, Philadelphia and Rochester, New York.
On Monday, as the fifth wave of threats hit Jewish institutions across the US with 28 hoax bomb threats called in to Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) and Jewish day schools, 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.”
Another week, another round of threats against Jewish ppl. In the middle of the day, you know who's at a JCC? Kids. KIDS.
— Juan M. Thompson (@JuanMThompson) February 27, 2017
Later that day, he retweeted a tweet from the left-wing Jewish Voice for Peace organization which read: “Reports of bomb threats at JCCs & Jewish schools, and another Jewish cemetery desecrated in Philadelphia. Sending love to our community.”
A day earlier, Thompson had tweeted about the vandalism at the Mount Carmel Jewish Cemetery in Philadelphia where at least 100 headstones were toppled, posting: “And ppl says Jews don’t face bigotry and violence. How would you feel if nasty white ppl destroyed MLK’s gravesite? #philadelphia“.
And ppl says Jews don't face bigotry and violence. How would you feel if nasty white ppl destroyed MLK's gravesite? #philadelphia
— Juan M. Thompson (@JuanMThompson) February 26, 2017
Federal authorities say Thompson started making his own threats on January 28 with an email to the Jewish History Museum in New York City written from an account that made it appear as if it was being sent by an ex-girlfriend.
“Juan Thompson put 2 bombs in the History Museum set to go off Sunday,” it said.
He followed that up with similar messages to a Jewish school in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and to a school and community center in Manhattan, authorities said.
In another round of emails and phone calls, he gave the woman’s name, rather than his own, the court complaint said. The Council on American-Islamic Relations received an anonymous email saying the woman put a bomb in a Dallas Jewish center.
Thompson appears to have first tweeted about his alleged involvement in an FBI investigation on February 10, telling followers that the “FBI is coming to interview me for some tweets,” followed by a post that read:
“Can’t get over it: A white woman I used to date and love told the FBI that I hated white ppl and wanted to bomb them. Wow.”
Two weeks later, he wrote: “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.”
— Juan M. Thompson (@JuanMThompson) February 24, 2017
He later tweeted at the Secret Service, telling the agency that he “will not be silenced” and alleging that the ex-girlfriend, which he names as Francesca, is “unstable and violent.”
After news of his arrest was revealed on Friday, a reporter at an alternative weekly in St. Louis said he was subjected to social media harassment after writing about Thompson’s firing from a news site for fabricating stories.
The Riverfront Times reporter Doyle Murphy said Thompson set up anonymous accounts on Twitter and other social media posing as a woman who claimed she had been sexually assaulted by Murphy. Murphy says he contacted Twitter but every time one fake account was taken down a new one popped up. He called the harassment a “nightmare.”
Thompson appears to tweet daily, often railing against “white people” and the “white liberal DC/NY media elite,” sparring with supporters of US President Donald and tweeting directly on a number of occasions at Trump himself.
He worked at the New York-based The Intercept from November 2014 to January 2016.