About two weeks ago, on November 13, we at D Magazine received a bomb threat via Facebook. The perp told us he would blow up our building if we didn’t stop publishing Barrett Brown, a National Magazine Award-winning writer and sometime D Magazine contributor. While we were notifying the Dallas Police Department and the FBI, I asked Barrett if he was familiar with the perp; Barrett said he was not. DPD sent cops to our office that day, and we were told that the perp had made an earlier threat against the downtown library. We were asked not to discuss the matter or publicize it, as that could serve to inflame the perp. I passed along the cops’ request to Barrett, who quickly turned to Twitter and posted everything I’d told him.
Let me step aside here and say that in my experience, capable bombers don’t use their own Facebook accounts to publicly identify their targets in advance. We were told by the cops that they didn’t see a serious threat. However minor the threat was, though, it was directed at us, not Barrett. He chose to put himself at the center of the thing because, well, then he got to be at the center of the thing.
Let me now step aside from my aside and add the following: it does seem odd that we were asked not to inflame the perp if he was harmless. That feels like saying, “Don’t provoke the butterfly!”
Anyway, two days later, on November 15, detectives came to our office and had us sign affidavits describing what had happened. They told us a little more about the perp. The reason they hadn’t arrested him yet, they said, was because they couldn’t find him. And the reason they couldn’t find him was because he is homeless. In fact, they told us, he had a warrant out for his arrest, for sleeping in public.
I didn’t tell Barrett any of this because I knew he’d just post it to Twitter. So, without any facts, he indulged in conspiracy theories about how the lack of an arrest by the DPD might be tied to the DoJ’s distaste for Barrett, on account of his own investigations thereinto. It was all very dramatic and quite exciting.
But Barrett did something else, too. He eventually asked Councilman Philip Kingston if he could dig up anything. And that he did. Assistant police chief Lonzo Anderson wrote the following to Kingston, which Kingston then passed along to Barrett and which Barrett then posted to Twitter earlier today.
On November 13, 2018, a subject made a veil threat on social media Facebook to the Dallas Public Library located at 1515 Young Street. The Facebook post reads as follows: “If you Democrats don’t stop this conspiracy shit I’m gonna blow your fucking library up.”
Intelligence detectives were immediately notified and also the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. Dallas Police Fusion monitored the subject’s social media accounts for intelligence.
Dallas Police Explosive Ordinance and Dallas Security conducted a search on the library and no bomb was located. In addition to the library, the subject made a similar threat to an employee at the D Magazine office.
The D Magazine Office received a bomb threat via Facebook. The message stated that if they continued to publish Barrett Brown that he was going to blow up their office.
A Terroristic Threat F/3 Charge will be filed for the Dallas City Library and a Misdemeanor class A charge will be filed for the threat made against an employee of D Magazine. A DPD CAD Bolo was entered on the suspect for situational awareness. An information bulletin was also disseminated by Fusion to all DPD officers.
On November 15, 2018, DPD took the subject in custody for a DPD alias warrant. The subject was interviewed at headquarters. The investigation is on-going. I will contact Intelligence for any further updates.
It is indeed curious that DPD took the guy in for questioning (n.b.: that’s not the same thing as arresting him) the same day that detectives visited our office — and yet, after repeated calls and emails to one of those detectives from two people in our office, I didn’t hear from that detective until this morning. All he told me was: “[The perp] has not been arrested and this investigation is still ongoing.”
Why didn’t he tell me that the guy had been questioned the same day the detectives came to our office? Why didn’t the detective reply to multiple queries, going back more than 10 days? I’m not sure. My guess: bureaucracy, being overworked, the sometimes inefficient flow of information. My guess as to Barrett’s guess: the cops have it out for him.
At the very least, Barrett Brown worked his way into this post.