Skip to main content

FBI arrests neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen’s leader on swatting charges

FBI arrests neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen’s leader on swatting charges


He was allegedly part of a major swatting ring

Share this story

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has arrested a founder of violent neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division, charging him with making interstate threats during a “swatting” campaign. John Cameron Denton allegedly joined a ring of racists who made hoax calls against a university, a church, and many other targets. He’s also been described as Atomwaffen’s leader by ProPublica — which Denton is accused of swatting in retaliation.

Denton — known online as “Rape” or “Tormenter” — is the second known member of the swatting ring. According to an FBI affidavit, Denton actively participated in campaigns alongside John William Kirby Kelley, who was arrested earlier this year. A third member is cooperating with state law enforcement, but their name has not been revealed, and the FBI describes two other ringleaders as foreign nationals living outside the US.

Denton “expressed frustration” with media portrayal of neo-Nazis

The FBI loosely linked Kelley to Atomwaffen and noted pervasive racist chatter in the IRC channel he frequented. This week’s arrest makes the connection much clearer. The affidavit claims that Denton joined the channel in 2018, then personally solicited at least two swatting attempts: one against ProPublica, which publicly revealed Denton’s role in Atomwaffen, and one against an investigative journalist working with the outlet. According to another member of the chat, Denton “expressed frustration about how neo-Nazis were being portrayed” by the media.

Chat messages suggest that other members were apparently aware of Denton’s identity, and IRC logs contained his home IP address. In January, Denton also unknowingly met with an FBI agent and admitted that he’d been involved in the swatting campaign. He told the agent that being “raided” for swatting would be good for Atomwaffen — because “the swatting would be seen as a top-tier crime.” Now, he faces a maximum of five years in prison.

Police and the FBI have cracked down on white supremacist terrorism in recent months. Another Atomwaffen member pleaded guilty to illegally possessing firearms this month, and in January, law enforcement arrested six members of “the Base,” three of whom were charged with a detailed plot to murder two anti-fascist activists. Another Atomwaffen Division member was charged in 2018 with murdering a former classmate.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 4 minutes ago Striking out

Andrew Webster4 minutes ago
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.

The Verge
Andrew WebsterAn hour ago
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.

Andrew Webster1:05 PM UTC
Looking for something to do this weekend?

Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.

A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix

Welcome to the new Verge

Revolutionizing the media with blog posts

Nilay PatelSep 13
Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.

External Link
If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.

External Link
Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.

Spain’s Transports Urbans de Sabadell has La Bussí.

Once again, the US has fallen behind in transportation — call it the Bussí gap. A hole in our infrastructure, if you will.

External Link
Jay PetersSep 23
Doing more with less (extravagant holiday parties).

Sundar Pichai addressed employees’ questions about Google’s spending changes at an all-hands this week, according to CNBC.

“Maybe you were planning on hiring six more people but maybe you are going to have to do with four and how are you going to make that happen?” Pichai sent a memo to workers in July about a hiring slowdown.

In the all-hands, Google’s head of finance also asked staff to try not to go “over the top” for holiday parties.

External Link
Insiders made the most money off of Helium’s “People’s Network.”

Remember Helium, which was touted by The New York Times in an article entitled “Maybe There’s a Use for Crypto After All?” Not only was the company misleading people about who used it — Salesforce and Lime weren’t using it, despite what Helium said on its site — Helium disproportionately enriched insiders, Forbes reports.

James VincentSep 23
Nvidia’s latest AI model generates endless 3D models.

Need to fill your video game, VR world, or project render with 3D chaff? Nvidia’s latest AI model could help. Trained on 2D images, it can churn out customizable 3D objects ready to import and tweak.

The model seems rudimentary (the renders aren’t amazing quality and seem limited in their variety), but generative AI models like this are only going to improve, speeding up work for all sorts of creative types.