TEL AVIV – The arrest of a Jewish Israeli-American teen suspected of making bomb threats against U.S. Jewish institutions only came about after President Donald Trump sent a team of FBI agents to Israel and deemed the suspect’s capture a high priority, police sources said.
After Trump announced that the FBI would do everything in its power to find the perpetrator of the JCC bomb threats, Trump sent a team of 12 FBI cybercrime experts to Israel to assist in the local investigation, Israeli daily Haaretz reported citing police sources.
The suspect, 19-year-old Michael Kaydar, reportedly made over 1,000 bomb threats over the past two years to schools and institutions in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. He is also alleged to have made at least two threats to Delta Airlines, which prompted the grounding of planes already in the air.
Since being taken into custody on Thursday, the youth has maintained his right to silence. Police have still not managed to break into his computers, although they expect to access them in the coming days.
According to Haaretz, after making a bomb threat the teen would monitor the media to gauge the effect of his alleged act. If the incident garnered media attention, he would make threats to the same area. Police sources also told the newspaper that there were hundreds of additional threats to other institutions that the public never heard about as they went unreported. Since they received no media attention, Kaydar reportedly stopped making the threats, instead turning his attention back to the JCCs that received massive coverage both in the U.S. and overseas.
According to commentator and Israellycool contributor Brian Thomas, this is the crux of the issue. Earlier this month, Thomas wrote an article slamming the mainstream media for harboring an ulterior motive in its sudden, vigorous coverage of the bomb threats, which he says are neither a “new” nor “uncommon” phenomenon. Namely, “by publicizing each threat on a global scale, it serves only to advance an anti-Trump agenda,” he stated.
Speaking to Breitbart Jerusalem, Thomas noted that the threats started during the Obama administration yet they received almost no media attention. With the news that the perpetrator had been caught, Thomas wrote a follow-up article claiming that the media, as well as far-left Jewish organizations, were using the bomb threats to “scream … about a rising tide of far-right antisemitism.”
“Without international media coverage, perhaps this kid would have got bored before and done something else,” Thomas told Breitbart Jerusalem. “Someone needs to hold left-wing mainstream media accountable for their crucial role in exploding small, local stories purely to drive their own political agenda.”
Kaydar allegedly used a plethora of technologies to hide his identity while making his threats including call forwarding service Google Voice and caller ID mask Spoofcard, as well as the digital currency Bitcoin, the Daily Beast reported.
But on at least one occasion he reportedly didn’t bother rerouting his internet through proxy servers, and his sloppiness eventually led police to find him.
Kaydar is reported to have left school in the first grade and was home-schooled thereafter. The IDF refused to draft him because he was deemed “unfit for service.” According to Channel 10 news, the rejection is what prompted Kaydar to issue the bomb threats in the first place.
Attorney Galit Bash, who represents the suspect, said Kaydar has been suffering from a brain tumor since the age of 14 that “affects his cognitive functioning.”
She added, “Therefore, we asked the court to order that the young man be referred for a medical examination. The court accepted our claims and instructed the police to examine the young man’s medical condition.”
Kaydar’s father, also a computer expert, was taken into custody along with his son on the suspicion that he knew about his son’s activities. Police are expected to interrogate Kaydar’s mother in the coming days and have requested she provide medical documentation proving that her son does indeed have a brain tumor.
The U.S. has not sent an extradition request as yet but Israel is expected to cooperate if one is issued.
Commercial companies that have been harmed by the teen’s threats may also file civil lawsuits against him.