Schumer asks FCC for waiver to trace Jewish center bomb threats

Schumer asks FCC for waiver to trace Jewish center bomb threats
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerThe Hill's Morning Report - Democrats sense opportunity with SCOTUS vacancy Schumer finds unity moment in Supreme Court fight Breyer retirement throws curveball into midterms MORE (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a waiver to unscramble anonymous phone numbers that had been used to call in bomb threats to a New York Jewish Community Center.

A wave of anti-Semitic acts, including bomb threats to JCCs and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, has drawn concern in Washington and around the nation. Since the start of 2017, there have been roughly 100 threats to 81 JCCs across the U.S.

Schumer's letter specifically referred to a series of bomb threats that were made on Feb. 27 to 11 JCCs, several of them in or near New York.


“The damage from these threats is far-reaching, often disrupting our classrooms and requiring the deployment of bomb squads and other SWAT equipment,” Schumer wrote. “As you can imagine, these attacks have traumatized the Jewish community and struck fear in homes across the country.”

Schumer called on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to issue a waiver that would allow law enforcement to trace the anonymous calls. Schumer recalled former Chairman Tom Wheeler granting a waiver to handle a bomb threat problem at a school in Long Island, N.Y.

“The access enabled critical school personnel and law enforcement officials to coordinate with one another in their attempts to quickly respond to swatting calls made to the School District,” Schumer said.

“Chairman Pai is very concerned about the bomb threats being made to Jewish Community Centers across our country," said FCC spokesman Neil Grace in a statement. 

"These threats have instilled fear and disrupted lives throughout the United States, and Chairman Pai condemns such anti-Semitic acts in the strongest possible terms," he added.

"The FCC is actively exploring what steps the FCC can take quickly to help Jewish Community Centers and law enforcement combat these threats.”

Harper Neidig contributed.

This story was updated at 2:30 p.m.