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Alleged Florida bomber may have sent Twitter threats to Joe Biden, Zephyr Teachout, and others

Alleged Florida bomber may have sent Twitter threats to Joe Biden, Zephyr Teachout, and others

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One page of images sent as part of a threat to Sarah Jeong

Cesar Altieri Sayoc, the man who allegedly mailed a dozen bombs to George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and other political figures, may have also had a penchant for threatening his ideological enemies on Twitter. The account @hardrock2016, which appears to belong to Sayoc, sent veiled death threats to liberal “slime scum,” including Vice President Joe Biden, former New York attorney general candidate Zephyr Teachout; actor Jim Carrey; Portland, Oregon mayor Ted Wheeler; MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte; and New York Times journalist (and former Verge writer) Sarah Jeong.

At least one of the targets — Biden, who was threatened on September 18th — was among those who later had bombs addressed to them. At least one recipient — former congressional press secretary Rochelle Ritchie — apparently reported the threats to Twitter, but was told that they didn’t violate Twitter’s abuse rules. “This is an ongoing law enforcement investigation. We do not have a comment,” a Twitter spokesperson told The Verge when asked whether the messages complied with its guidelines. The entire account was suspended a few hours later, on the afternoon of the arrest.

The messages varied slightly, but they follow a pattern similar to the threat against Jeong:

“So slime scum you like make threats.We Unconquered Seminole Tribe will answer your threats.We are going invite you down to our land here Swamp and Everglades for air boat tour.Remember hug your loved ones real close everytime you leave your home.See you real soon”

The tweet was followed by several sets of images depicting deaths or disappearances, including graphic pictures of apparent snakebite victims and a newspaper article about the Maryland newsroom shooting from earlier this year. Other threats included houses on fire and bloody, dead animals. A Seminole Tribe spokesperson told Politico reporter Marc Caputo that there was no record of Sayoc being a member of the tribe.

The @hardrock2016 profile is one of several social media accounts to feature Sayoc’s name (or a variation of it) and his photograph. For the past year, it’s been almost entirely devoted to posting infographics, memes, and other images that praise President Donald Trump or denigrate people he’s targeted, including several of the bomb recipients, like George Soros, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), and President Barack Obama. It also sent angry but less overtly threatening messages to a number of accounts, including responses to headlines from the gossip outlet TMZ.

Update 3:00PM ET: Added comment from Twitter.

Update 5:00PM ET: Twitter has suspended @hardrock2016, as well as another account seemingly belonging to Sayoc.