Federal prosecutors have charged a Scottish man with sending some of the bomb threats that the University of Pittsburgh dealt with earlier this year. They have also added criminal charges to their case against the Ohio man they accuse of threatening to release university computer files over the way Pitt’s administration handled the bomb scares. The charges describe the Scottish man as a terrorist for his association with a nationalist group, though the activities they describe seem to be mostly hoaxes.
We last discussed this case in our June 22 blog post. At that time, the FBI had arrested the Ohio man and accused him of hacking into Pitt’s computer system, stealing information and posting a video on YouTube that threatened to release the data. The investigators claimed that the man was angry that Pitt’s chancellor had failed to deal with the bomb threats.
Pitt now acknowledges that the information never was hacked. However, the federal charges against the man remain. In fact, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has added charges against him, though they are not related to the Pitt case, and charged a second person. Authorities claim those two men are involved in the hacking group Anonymous.
The Scottish man allegedly posed as a group called The Threateners to send around 40 emails threatening to bomb various buildings on campus. The FBI said he was also responsible for an email sent to the Pitt student newspaper promising to stop if the administration withdrew a $50,000 reward offer for information about the threats. Federal prosecutors consider that email to be extortion because Pitt complied.
Pitt performed 136 building evacuations due to 52 threats found in bathroom stalls and emails. No bombs were ever discovered.
Source: Washington Post, “Scottish terror founder charged in emailed bomb threats against Pitt, federal courthouses,” Aug. 15, 2012
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