Back-to-School Bomb Threats

Bomb threats are apparently all the rage as the nation’s colleges and universities start a new academic year, ABC News reports:

At least 13 U.S. universities, including Princeton, MIT and Carnegie Mellon, have been targeted for anonymous e-mail bomb threats as students return to classes, federal law enforcement authorities tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com.

One of the schools, Clemson University, in Clemson, S.C., was targeted again today — the first day of school across much of the nation — and an evacuation was ordered, ABC News has learned. “We have had three in the last 10 days,” Clemson University spokesman Robin Denny said of the bomb threats. She said the university has been sending out e-mail alerts to students, faculty and other personnel, saying evacuations were in progress after each threat.

The FBI, regional authorities and university police are investigating the spate of threats, which include a set of difficult-to-track threats that use Internet remailer services to eliminate the sender address and render the threat anonymous and more difficult to trace, the FBI confirmed.

Obviously, school officials have to take these threats seriously, especially after last year’s Virginia Tech massacre. My strong hunch, however, is that these emails are the work of student pranksters trying to extend their vacations a wee bit longer.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.