The AlphaBay Jewish Community Center Bomb Threat of the Week Service

Back in April, the Department of Justice announced it had identified the perpetrator of at least some of the series of threats against targets that had terrified the Jewish community between January and March: Michael Ron David Kadar, an Israeli-American 18-year old, had allegedly placed at least 15 calls to different Jewish Community Centers and other targets this year. While it received less attention, DOJ also charged Kadar with swatting calls targeting secular schools in Georgia going back to August 2015.

The fact that Kadar, an Israeli Jew, was behind sowing terror throughout the Jewish community defied assumptions that the threats were motivated out of anti-Semitism. After all, why would a Jew seek to terrorize other Jews?

Except — as documents tweeted out by GWU’s Seamus Hughes yesterday make clear — the reality may be quite different.

Back in April, the FBI obtained a search warrant to search certain accounts on AlphaBay, the dark web marketplace taken down in July. It reveals that Israeli police seized a thumb drive in their search of Kadar’s room showing “THE ARCHIVE OF TARGETS.” Documents from the archive corresponded to the hoaxes launched against Jewish targets.

It then explains that an AlphaBay vendor working under the name Darknet_Legend — apparently run by Kadar — offered a “unique emailing service for all of you, I email bomb threats to schools on your request.” Emailed bomb threats cost $30 each, plus an extra $15 if you wanted to frame someone in particular for the hoax.

In June, a prosecutor asked the magistrate to unseal the earlier search warrant to facilitate the arrest of the person believed to have paid for at least one of the JCC bomb threats.

That ongoing investigation has identified a suspect believed to have ordered and paid for at least [sic] of the bomb threats made by Kadar. The FBI and local authorities in California intend to pursue criminal charges against the suspect. If they are successful in doing so, the local authorities may need this warrant and/or it may be producible in discovery.

On July 17, the magistrate unsealed that warrant.

While it’s not yet clear who the CA target was or what has happened to him or her since June, it appears that Kadar only carried out the threats, at $30 a pop, for someone else.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

13 replies
  1. martin says:

    Jew… emails threats on behalf of anonymous person to other Jews.. for $30 a pop.

    This schmuck must be the creepiest person on the planet… er..wait.. that’s Steven Miller.. ok.. 2nd most creepy.

  2. Evangelista says:

    “it’s not yet clear who the CA target was or what has happened to him or her”…

    Nor is it clear there is a real CA target, is it?

    The old call in your own threats trick is among the oldest, and easiest to think up. Police blotters are black with examples on examples over examples over examples.

    The next oldest is the attempt-to-deflect after being caught faking, or ‘false-flagging’, as it is sometimes also called. Convenient “discovery” of a rental threat-placement service in an obscure and difficult to confirm (no longer available) electronic space would certainly qualify as a highly probable deflection effort. Especially when such a service would be hardly necessary for anyone (except a threat-purveyor who would want to slick in some deniability, which Kadar does not appear to have been “professional” enough to have bothered with, or thought to bother with). I mean, what would be the point of all the dark-net deflecting stuff if one was going to forward the threats from one’s own home in the last stage?

    And would Kadar have sent blind? Especially like that, from home? Raising the question of content-censoring: Leaving aside why Kadar would forward anonymous threats for anonymous threateners, placing himself as the threateners’ last stage, would he not read, review, and, being, supposedly, a member in good standing of the “terrified…Jewish community”, have censored out threats that would have “terrified the Jewish community”?

    Would not a “Threat Forwarding Service” offered through a “dark portal” strike anyone with normal sensibilities, and not wanting to be gupped, as most likely, if not all but certainly, a hony-pot or “law-enforcement” op? I mean, imagine yourself coming across a bb ad saying, “”…I email bomb threats to schools on your request.”” You are going to ask, “Ẅhere do I send my bomb-threat and $30 money-order? ”

    Plus, “plus an extra $15 if you wanted to frame someone in particular for the hoax.” “Someone like me, Kadar, a black-ops black-hat Jew, ADL, JDL, IDF… Will do Synagogues, too…” (…who would never do anything like this, myself …except like this, for money…) (Is there a stereotype here somewhere?)

    The real question is: Why are these so-called “law-enforcement” and “policing” agencies pumping out all of these half-baked accusation-explanations with apparently and obviously zero actual investigation backing?

    I mean, this shit is straight in from the could-be-anybody with a could-be-any-reason for reporting anonymous-caliber (if not anonymous) tip being pumped straight through and out as press-release without even a toss on the sawdust floor to see if the cat will bury it.

    • Gal Dagon says:

      “I mean, what would be the point of all the dark-net deflecting stuff if one was going to forward the threats from one’s own home in the last stage?”

      He didn’t. You’re giving the Law Enforcement agencies to little credit as well as too much credit at the same time. You also seem to be ignoring the fact that this is an Israeli citizen who was arrested in Ashkelon. A bit of a far way to go for a scapegoat.

  3. bloopie2 says:

    RIP Glen Campbell. So much great music, especially his JImmy Webb songs. And the recent PBS show on his last concert tour (with Alzheimers) is heartbreaking. All I can do is play Gentle On My Mind over and over—to me the sweetest song he sang.

  4. greengiant says:

    Compare Kader to the Crackas with Attitude, 3 UK kids, two about 13 and 15 when phishing, hacking and passing on to Wikileaks, and two North Carolina 20xers. Self motivated, self propagandized, and deniable pawns, potentially easily led or blackmailed, and friends of friends of oligarchs. The equivalent of Oswald, Sirhan, and Ray when it comes to assassinations. What will be interesting is the to be revealed purchaser.

  5. Fat says:

    Michael kadar has a brain tumor and autism. It is a fact.! Beside has other psychiatric problems. Is that make sense to the “normal” people now?

    Do not ever blame a person that his/her thoughts are not self controlled .

    • bmaz says:

      “It is a fact!”

      Frankly, that may or may not be a fact, but irrespective, it does not constrain the analysis contained in this post.

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