Federal officials said a Virginia man arrested Friday is linked to a string of fake bomb threats and "swatting" attacks on journalists, government officials and others as part of an international group sympathetic to neo-Nazi ideology.
John William Kirby Kelley had his first appearance in federal court in Alexandria on Friday; his public defender did not comment on the allegations but said his client has "very limited funds." The charge against Kelley of conspiracy to make threats carries up to five years in prison.
Members of the group, which is unnamed, "all appeared to share racist views," according to an affidavit from an FBI agent, "with particular disdain for African Americans and Jewish people." They expressed affinity with the neo-Nazi Atomwaffen Division, the agent wrote.
The investigation began in November 2018, when Old Dominion University in Norfolk got a call claiming someone armed with an AR-15 had hidden pipe bombs around campus. The police got a call a couple hours later from someone with a similar voice who said he had dialed accidentally and apologized. That call came from Kelley's number, listed in school records, according to the affidavit. Authorities said in the documents that Kelley was studying cybersecurity at the school until January, when he was expelled after facing state drug charges. (more...)