A San Fernando Valley congressman who saw the threat letter to the Los Angeles Unified School District thought its authenticity was fishy because of un-Islamic elements in the writing.
“First, the person making the threat claims to be the extremist Muslim jihadist,” Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) told CNN, noting that’s doubtful as “there is a pornographic reference to a body part … this person claims to be a devout Muslim.”
“I don’t think that’s a consistent. There is certainly nothing in the text of the e-mail that shows that the person who wrote it has any particular understanding of Islam. So, this could be sent by an extremist jihadist, but it could also be sent by someone with a different agenda.”
Sherman said the second issue with the email that piqued eyebrows is the claim “that they have prepared to take terrible action” with 32 accomplices, “and that’s way beyond what ISIS or even al-Qaeda have been able to put together in any western city.”
“And they claim they have nerve agent,” he added. “I’d be very surprised if that part of the threat was true. So, it may be there’s some part of threat that is true…maybe this was sent by someone who supports radical extremist jihadism or maybe it was sent by somebody else.”
Sherman said the email was signed with an Islamic male name. “There’s a claim of bombs in backpacks, there’s a claim of nerve agent, there’s a claim of gang of 32 accomplices plus the author, so. And some of those claim some of those claims are probably false,” he said.
The threat didn’t just include L.A., but San Bernardino, Bakersfield and San Diego.
Schools in districts surrounding LAUSD, such as Burbank and Beverly Hills, remained open while LAUSD shut down on Tuesday.
“So it’s very specific as to the ‘how’ — we have a complicated system of running schools in Los Angeles County. And most of this country as well, where you have a variety of local school districts and they walk across the street, and you are in a different school district, and this threat is aimed at the L.A. Unified School District,” Sherman said.
LAUSD campuses reopened today, and superintendent Ramon Cortines said schools would have “crisis counselors available for students and employees who may need additional support” after the threat.
“I decided to close schools, and this choice was not made lightly. It disrupted the lives of our students, our employees and their families. Based on recent events, I took this precaution out of an abundance of caution and to ensure safety and security in our schools,” Cortines said at a Tuesday press conference.
“We now must get back to the business of educating our kids. Our local districts will be supporting school and maintaining consistency. I have asked state Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson to allow us to count today as an instructional day and reimburse the District for funds we will otherwise lose…. This event underscores the need for everyone to remain diligent and serves as a reminder — if you see something, say something.”
The full email text, apparently minus the pornographic body part reference noted by Sherman, as reported by Bakersfield’s ABC affiliate:
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
I am emailing you to inform you of the happenings on Tuesday, 12/15/15.
Something big is going down. Something very big. It will make national headlines. Perhaps, even international ones. You see, my last 4 years here at one of the district high schools has been absolute hell. Pure, unmitigated, agony. The bullying, the loneliness, the rejection… it is never-ending. And for what? Just because I’m ‘different’?
No. No more. I am a devout Muslim, and was once against violence, but I have teamed up with a local jihadist cell as it is the only way I’ll be able to accomplish my massacre the correct way. I would not be able to do it alone. Me, and my 32 comrades, will die tomorrow in the name of Allah. Every school in the L.A. Unified district is being targeted. We have bombs hidden in lockers already at several schools. They are strategically placed and are meant to crumble the foundations of the very buildings that monger so much hate and discrimination. They are pressure cooker bombs, hidden in backpacks around the schools. They are loaded with 20 lbs. of gunpowder, for maximum damage. They will be detonated via Cell Phone. Not only are there bombs, but there are nerve gas agents set to go off at a specific time: during lunch hour. To top it off, my brothers in Allah and I have Kalashnikov rifles, Glock 18 Machine pistols, and multiple handheld grenades. The students at every school in the L.A. Unified district will be massacred, mercilessly. And there is nothing you can do to stop it.
If you do end up trying to, by perhaps, beefing up security, or canceling classes for the day, it won’t matter. Your security will not be able to stop us. We are an army of Allah. If you cancel classes, the bombings will take place regardless, and we will bring our guns to the streets and offices of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Bakersfield, and San Diego.
I wish you the best luck. It is time to pray to allah, as this may be your last day.