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Most HBCU bomb threats may be coming from one juvenile, FBI official tells Congress

Norfolk State University, one of Virginia’s historically Black colleges and universities,...
Norfolk State University, one of Virginia’s historically Black colleges and universities, received a bomb threat last month. (Norfolk State)(Virginia Mercury)
Published: Mar. 18, 2022 at 7:39 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON — A top FBI official told members of a U.S. House panel on Thursday that the agency believes a single juvenile is behind most of the bomb threats made to more than 30 historically black colleges and universities.

Ryan Young, executive assistant director of the Intelligence Branch at the FBI, said that the bomb threats made to HBCUs and historically Black churches are the agency’s top priority.

“We’ve treated this as domestic terrorism,” he said. “It’s meant to inflict harm within the African American population.”

Under questioning from Republican Rep. Clay Higgins of Louisiana, Young said that the FBI believes that a majority of the bomb threats are from one juvenile, but declined to give any more information.

Higgins asked if it is correct that the FBI has identified one juvenile behind the threats. Young said, “that is consistent with the message we’ve shared with both law enforcement and the Historically Black Colleges.”

The exchange came during a hearing of the House Oversight Committee, as lawmakers grilled officials from law enforcement agencies about why those making bomb threats made against Historically Black Colleges and Universities have not been caught.

“As the investigation is ongoing, I know that the FBI cannot answer any questions about the status of these specific cases,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat and chair of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

“But I would like to know how the FBI is coordinating with HBCUs and communities of color to address the terrifying rise in hate crimes and white supremacy in the U.S.”

This year alone, 36 HBCUs have been targeted with bomb threats. The House and Senate on a bipartisan vote passed a resolution condemning the bomb threats made to HBCUs and several congressional hearings on the threats to minority institutions have been held.

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.(Virginia Mercury)

The Virginia Mercury is a new, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization covering Virginia government and policy.

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