White House responds to HBCU bomb threats; Black leaders decry ‘domestic terrorism’

Free Press wire reports | 2/3/2022, 6 p.m.
Black leaders are calling the recent series of bomb threats against several Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) campuses “terrorism.” …
President Biden

Black leaders are calling the recent series of bomb threats against several Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) campuses “terrorism.” There have been threats to more than a dozen HBCUs so far this month, many of which occurred only in the past two days.

The matter is so alarming that civil rights lawyer and attorney for the family of Ahmaud Arbery, Lee Merritt, who also is a graduate of Morehouse College, said that he believes the Biden administration should form a task force to get to the bottom of the threats and identify the source of the ongoing threats.

As the news of the HBCU bomb threats over the past two days was making headlines, in the White House briefing on Tuesday, Feb. 1, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki reporters, “We take these threats incredibly seriously. Our Homeland Security adviser is in close touch with law enforcement authorities at a federal and local level, and we are assessing what we think the origin, the reasoning, the motivation behind it is.”

The Biden administration affirmed its continued support for HBCUs in this moment that is being characterized by leaders as domestic terrorism.

“We are absolutely behind these HBCUs. We want to make it very clear that we take these threats seriously and we deeply value their contributions. But it’s important for law enforcement authorities and others to make an assessment before we make any determinations about next steps,” said the presidential spokesperson.

On the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, the Congressional Black Caucus plans to engage with the Department of Justice on actions to be taken to address the threat of danger against HBCUs. Meanwhile, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are investigating the matter.

“ATF is aware of bomb threats received by some Historically Black Colleges and Universities. We take all potential threats seriously and we regularly work with our law enforcement partners to determine the threat credibility,” ATF said in a statement. “This is a fluid situation with ongoing investigations, and we can’t comment on the specifics at this time.”

White House Press Secretary Psaki said, “I would not call it irony, but I would say that it is scary. It is horrifying. It is terrible that these students, these faculty, these institutions are feeling under threat.”

She added, “We don’t know more details at this point in time, and I don’t want to get ahead of law enforcement authorities ... but certainly, given the history you referenced, you know, this is something we’re very mindful of, and that is why we’re so focused on providing regular updates and seeing what our law enforcement team assesses.”