Massachusetts Man Arrested for Making Bomb Threat to Arizona State Election Official
A Massachusetts man was arrested today in Falmouth, Massachusetts for allegedly sending a communication containing a bomb threat to an election official in the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.
James W. Clark, 38, of Falmouth, is charged with one count of making a bomb threat, one count of perpetrating a bomb hoax, and one count of communicating an interstate threat. Clark made his initial appearance today at the federal courthouse in Boston.
“Illegal threats of violence put election officials and workers at risk and undermine the bedrock of our democracy: free and fair elections,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Our Election Threats Task Force, working with partners across the nation, will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute illegal threats like these to hold accountable those who threaten our democracy.”
“Throughout Arizona, we are fortunate to have highly professional state, county and local officials who administer elections in a fair and impartial manner,” said U.S. Attorney Gary M. Restaino. “Democracy requires that we support those officials, and that we take seriously allegations of threats or violence against them.”
“The FBI takes all threat-to-life matters very seriously,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Chris Ormerod of the FBI’s Phoenix field office. “While this arrest demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to hold accountable anyone who tries to intimidate a public official, it also shows that people cannot threaten others with violence and physical harm without repercussions.”
According to the indictment, on or about Feb. 14, 2021, Clark allegedly sent the following message via the website contact form of the Elections Division, Arizona Secretary of State’s Office, addressed to the election official: “Your attorney general needs to resign by Tuesday February 16th by 9 am or the explosive device impacted in her personal space will be detonated.”
The indictment also alleges that Clark utilized a web browser to search for the address of the election official and searched for “how to kill” the election official. The indictment further alleges that, on or about Feb. 18, 2021, Clark utilized a web browser to search for “fema boston marathon bombing” and “fema boston marathon bombing plan digital army.”
If convicted, Clark faces a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison for making the bomb threat and up to five years in prison for each of the counts on the bomb hoax and making a threatening interstate communication.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Gary M. Restaino for the District of Arizona, and Acting Special Agent in Charge Chris Ormerod of the FBI’s Phoenix Field Office made the announcement.
FBI Phoenix is investigating the case, with the assistance of FBI Lakeville (Mass.).
Trial Attorney Tanya Senanayake of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean K. Lokey for the District of Arizona are prosecuting the case.
This case is part of the Justice Department’s Election Threats Task Force. Announced by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and launched by Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco in June 2021, the task force has led the department’s efforts to address threats of violence against election workers, and to ensure that all election workers — whether elected, appointed, or volunteer — are able to do their jobs free from threats and intimidation. The task force engages with the election community and state and local law enforcement to assess allegations and reports of threats against election workers, and has investigated and prosecuted these matters where appropriate, in partnership with FBI field offices and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices throughout the country. A year after its formation, the Task Force is continuing this work and supporting the United States Attorneys’ Offices and FBI Field Offices nationwide as they carry on the critical work that the Task Force has begun.
Under the leadership of Deputy Attorney General Monaco, the task force is led by the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and includes several other entities within the Department of Justice, including the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the Criminal Division, the Civil Rights Division, the National Security Division, and the FBI, as well as key interagency partners, such as the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. For more information regarding the Justice Department’s efforts to combat threats against election workers, read the Deputy Attorney General’s memo.
To report suspected threats or violent acts, contact your local FBI office and request to speak with the Election Crimes Coordinator. Contact information for every FBI field office may be found here: https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/. You may also contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or file an online complaint at: tips.fbi.gov. Complaints submitted will be reviewed by the task force and referred for investigation or response accordingly. If someone is in imminent danger or risk of harm, contact 911 or your local police immediately.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.