Reporter arrested for alleged threats against Jewish centers complained that investigators probed him about ideology


Juan Thompson, who was arrested on Friday and charged with making at least some of the recent threats against Jewish community centers, had complained online that investigators, who had interrogated him in the time leading up to his arrest, had probed him about his political ideology.

The complaint made by Mr. Thompson was reflected in a message he posted on Feb. 10 on the Twitter social media platform.

The spree of threats made against Jewish community centers had sparked a nationwide concern about the prospect of growing intolerance in the era of White Nationalism that has come to define the early era of the Trump presidency. However, the threats allegedly made by Mr. Thompson against Jewish community centers, some of which were located in New York, have been described as the actions of a copycat. The broader investigation of threats made against dozens of other Jewish community centers reportedly continues.

In a criminal complaint signed last Wednesday and unsealed on Friday, Christopher Mills, a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, swore that, based on information available to him, Mr. Thompson has made at least eight threats against Jewish community centers as part of a plot to harass Mr. Thompson's former lover. The allegations in the criminal complaint portrayed Mr. Thompson's actions as retaliation against his former lover, who ended their relationship in July 2016. The allegations made against Mr. Thompson included an alleged threat to publicly release revenge porn to apparently shame and retaliate his former lover. The sole criminal charge made against Mr. Thompson in the Sealed Complaint was limited to the crime of cyberstalking made, in part, with an "intent to kill, injury, harass, intimidate" and stalk his former lover.

Given that Mr. Thompson was allegedly engaged in a dangerous personal vendetta against his former lover, it is not known why investigators would reportedly question Mr. Thompson about his political ideology. According to Mr. Thompson's social media message, he alleged that investigators inquired about whether he was a Marxist. Broadly, the political ideology of Marxism posits that a socialist form of society emerges in the wake of the failure of capitalism as a result of a social revolution. It is not known how Federal investigators viewed any connection between capitalism and the threats made against Jewish community centers. Additionally, it was not possible to confirm the veracity of or to obtain more information about Mr. Thompson's complaint that investigators had asked him about his political ideology. On Friday, Mr. Thompson was arrested in Missouri, and a request for an interview left at the Office of the Federal Public Defender in St. Louis, Mo., was not immediately answered by Lucille Liggett, who was reported to be Mr. Thompson's appointed Federal public defender, according to a report published by The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Because Federal prosecutors follow a policy of not commenting on active investigations or prosecutions, the U.S. Attorney's Office for New York's southern district, which filed the Sealed Complaint against Mr. Thompson, did not answer advance questions submitted by Progress Queens about procedures about asking subjects of investigations about their political ideology. In press reports, Mr. Thompson was identified as a former journalist. In unrelated reporting, Progress Queens has raised questions about how Federal prosecutors appear to be trying to recreate powers to question activists about their political ideology in criminal investigations of activists over their activism.

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