The Faces of 90.5 WESA
Mon June 11, 2012
Investigators Still Trying to Determine Who was Behind Pitt Bomb Threats
While the bomb threats that terrorized the University of Pittsburgh in the spring have ceased, the investigation into who was behind them has not. The FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force is continuing to look into the string of threats. In all there were 43 messages with 143 threats.
"We have the joint terrorism task force that is comprised of state, federal, and local law enforcement, and we have our international law enforcement partners as well as our domestic law enforcement partners working together to find these individuals and bring them to justice," said Kelly Kochumba, a spokeswoman for the Pittsburgh FBI field office.
The first bomb threat came in mid-February, and the second a little over a month later in March. The first few were found written in men's and women's restrooms on campus. After that, threat after threat was emailed to Pitt using a remailer site that makes the original emails extremely hard to trace. That has made it a challenge for law enforcement to pinpoint who was responsible.
"It just creates different challenges and it's more time consuming because of certain regulations and things that need to be done in order to be able to move forward with the investigation," said Kochamba.
She said finding out who was behind the threats remains a top priority of law enforcement, as it's considered a domestic terrorism case.
"Any type of threat to a particular audience is considered an act of terrorism. Anyone that encourages violence and creates fear, whether it's over the internet or other means, is a danger to our society and to the freedoms we enjoy as citizens," said Kochamba.
Because the investigation is ongoing, she couldn't say whether or not they have any suspects in the threats. A group that called itself "The Threateners" claimed responsibility for the emails, and had promised they'd stop when the University of Pittsburgh withdrew a $50,000 reward for information on who was behind the threats.
The threats caused frequent evacuations that disrupted classes, emptied dorms at odd hours, and led the school to institute additional security measures. Finals were limited to five buildings, which were subject to tight security.