US lawmakers demand ‘urgency’ in probe of JCC bomb threats
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US lawmakers demand ‘urgency’ in probe of JCC bomb threats

In letter to law enforcement agencies, over 150 members of Congress decry the 69 threats made to Jewish centers since Jan. 9

Illustrative photo of police tape at the JCC in Nashville, Tennessee, after the community center received a bomb threat on January 9, 2017. (Screenshot: The Tennessean)
Illustrative photo of police tape at the JCC in Nashville, Tennessee, after the community center received a bomb threat on January 9, 2017. (Screenshot: The Tennessean)

More than 150 members of Congress signed on to a letter urging federal law enforcement officials to investigate recent bomb threats leveled at Jewish community centers around the country.

Wednesday’s bipartisan letter, initiated by Rep. Joe Crowley (D-New York) and Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Florida), urged the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Attorney General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to “approach this issue with a sense of urgency, and to work in partnership with state and territory governments, local law enforcement officials, JCC Association of North America, individual JCCs, and Jewish community institutions and leaders to address the threat in a holistic manner.”

Since Jan. 9, there have been at least 69 bomb threat incidents at 54 JCCs in 27 states and one Canadian province. All were hoaxes. The latest wave of threats came on Monday, when threats were called in to 11 JCCs.

“We urge the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice to swiftly assess the situation and to advise Congress on what specific steps are being taken, or will be taken, to deter such threats from being made, to identify and prosecute the perpetrators for violations of federal criminal laws, and to enable JCCs to enhance security measures such as physical barriers and guards, in the event that an individual seeks to act upon these threats,” the letter reads.

The JCC Association of North America welcomed the letter.

“JCC Association of North America applauds this bipartisan effort toward an issue impacting communities across the country, and we are grateful for Rep. Murphy and Rep. Crowley’s leadership,” said Stephen P. Seiden, chairman of the JCCA’s board of directors, in a statement.

“We urge the administration and federal agencies to continue joining us in prioritizing our communities’ safety, and we look forward to seeing the perpetrators brought to justice quickly,” Seiden said.

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