The Missouri man arrested for phoning bomb threats to at least eight of the more than 100 Jewish institutions targeted these past months is a former journalist for The Intercept who was fired for fabricating stories.
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Juan M. Thompson, 31, also tweeted numerous accusations in recent days against a woman he described as a former girlfriend, claiming she has been making bomb threats against Jewish community centers and threatened to kill Donald Trump and his family.
The Intercept is a website led by journalist Glenn Greenwald and has published a number of reports from documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
"The white New York liberal media makes me vomit with their arrogant, patronizing, bigotry," Thompson wrote after being fired, blasting his former employer in a 5,000 word essay as the "the token negro whisperer."
Thompson also tried to run for mayor in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, but, according to Reuters, failed to attract more than a single $25 donation for his bid.
In a statement released after Thompson's arrest, the FBI quotes a tweet posted on Thompson's account: “For instance, on February 24, 2017, the Thompson Twitter Account posted: '[s]he [Victim-1], though I can’t prove it, even sent a bomb threat in my name to a Jewish center, which was odd given her anti-Semitic statements. I got a visit from the FBI. So now I’m battling the racist FBI and this vile, evil, racist white woman.'”
In a post from February 27, he tweeted at the Secret Service that the woman "has made death threats against Trump. And talked about how she wanted to kill him and his kids."
In a statement released by Betsy Reed, editor-in-chief of The Intercept on Feb 2, 2016, the newspaper claimed that Thompson had a habit of impersonating other people in an attempt to cover his tracks while working for the newspaper. In a statement, The Intercept said he has set up a fake email to hide his fabrications, which, according to Reuters, the same technique that federal authorities have accused him of using for the bomb threats.
“The Intercept recently discovered a pattern of deception in the actions of a staff member," said the statement. “The employee, Juan Thompson, was a staff reporter from November 2014 until last month. Thompson fabricated several quotes in his stories and created fake email accounts that he used to impersonate people, one of which was a Gmail account in my name."
One of the biggest stories Thompson fabricated while at the Intercept was an interview with a cousin of accused killer Dylann Roof, who murdered nine members of an historic black church in South Carolina. The Intercept couldn’t find evidence that the cousin existed.
By January, Thompson had turned to the bomb threats, prosecutors said. In some cases he emailed threats using the woman's name, according to the complaint. In others he used his own name then claimed she had hacked his email account.
On Feb. 24, he posted on Twitter, "Y'all know how to get a social worker in NY barred? I'm being stalked and harassed by a white nasty white woman." Thompson, who is black, also said on Twitter he had been approached by the Secret Service and the FBI and blamed his ex-girlfriend for the visits.
Thompson was due to appeal in federal court in St. Louis later Friday. It was not immediately known whether he had a lawyer.
Authorities said they are continuing to investigate the rash of threats against JCCs.
The Intercept has released a statement confirming that their former employee was the Thompson who was arrested. “We are horrified to learn this morning that Juan Thompson, a former employee of Intercept, has been arrested in connection with bomb threats against the ADL and multiple Jewish community centers, in addition to cyberstalking.”