The bomb threat called in to Harvard on Monday seemed awfully convenient, given that it occurred during finals, so it’s not much of a surprise that the entire thing was a hoax.
20-year old Eldo Kim admitted to FBI agents that he had sent an email to campus officials claiming that there were two shrapnel bombs in four possible locations, using an anonymous program called Guerrilla Mail. He also used TOR to generate a random IP address, but authorities quickly discovered that he was the one who had accessed TOR on the Harvard network. He is due to appear in U.S. District Court today and could face five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.
According to an affidavit, Kim’s only motivation for the threat was to get out of taking one of his finals, and he told officials that when he heard the fire alarm go off in Emerson Hall, he knew his plan had worked. Emerson–as well as Thayer, and Sever halls and the Science Center–were all evacuated early Monday morning and no one could access Harvard Yard without ID. At just after nine a.m., this report was sent out through Harvard’s emergency messaging system:
“The Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) this morning received an unconfirmed report that explosives may have been placed in four buildings on campus: the Science Center, Thayer, Sever and Emerson Halls. HUPD and Cambridge Police are on the scene. Out of an abundance of caution, the buildings have been evacuated while the report is investigated. Harvard’s focus is on the safety of our students, faculty and staff. We will update the media when we have more information.”
Many students had already guessed that the threat was a hoax and were unhappy about their own exams being postponed.
“I have a good guess somebody called it in so they wouldn’t have to take an exam,” student Alexander Ryjik said. “It’s frustrating because now the exam will have to be postponed.”