Threat to Blow Up FBI Building in D.C. Results in Prison Term
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 02, 2010|
HOUSTON—Jeff Henry Williamson, 45, convicted of threatening to blow up the J. Edgar Hoover FBI building in Washington, D.C., has been sentenced to prison, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno and FBI Houston Special Agent in Charge Richard C. Powers announced today.
Williamson, of Jackson, Miss., was found guilty in March 2010 after a four-day trial of sending a threatening communication in interstate commerce. Today, United States District Judge David Hittner sentenced Williamson to 42 months in federal prison to be followed by a three-year term of supervised release. In handing down the sentence, the court considered the defendant’s future dangerousness as well as the number of victims he had harassed. Williamson has been in custody since his arrest at the FBI building in Washington, D.C., on July 30, 2008, and will remain in custody pending a transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future where he will serve his sentence.
During the trial, the jury heard testimony about a series of messages left by Williamson on the U.S. Attorney’s Office voicemail system in which he claimed to being harassed by the U.S. government and threatening to shoot up the U.S. Attorney’s Office with a submachine gun if the harassment continued. The FBI traced one of the calls to the downtown Houston Public Library and on June 11, 2008, FBI agents found Williamson in the library. After admitting to making the phone calls, Williamson was admonished by FBI agents not to threaten to harm individuals in the government.
Sixteen days later, on June 27, 2008, Williamson sent an e-mail from the Houston Public Library public access computers to the United States Attorney’s Office in downtown Houston stating in part, “Please advise FBI Director Mueller I will take justice into my hands and blow the front of the J. Edger Hoover building off to get everyone’s attention—then the CIA HQ and DOJ.” The e-mail was also sent to the Department of Justice Inspector General and the House Select Intelligence Committee. The e-mail also directed the recipients to Williamson’s political websites that expressed views about the government harassing him.
FBI agents executed a federal arrest warrant on July 30, 2008, and arrested Williamson as he stood outside of FBI Headquarters building in Washington, D.C., The arrest warrant had issued after the filing of a criminal complaint in the Southern District of Texas charging him with sending threatening communications relating to the June 27th threat. Williamson told agents that he was waiting for FBI Director Mueller. After he was arrested, agents found a piece of paper in his bag with the e-mail address for the House Select Intelligence Committee scribbled on it. The e-mail came from Williamson’s Yahoo.com e-mail account. Williamson’s Yahoo.com e-mail and website accounts also contained similar political messages about government harassment.
A few months earlier, in February 2008, Williamson had sent a similar message while in Reno, Nevada to the FBI in Washington D.C., from the Washoe County Law Library using the FBI’s tip page from one of the library’s public access computers. In that message, Williamson threatened to kill FBI agents. FBI agents traced the tip back to the law library using the library’s IP address. When they arrived at the library they interviewed Williamson, who claimed he was on a “smoke break” during the time in which the tip was sent.
Williamson, who represented himself during trial, unsuccessfully attempted to convince the jury he was being framed by the FBI. The jury returned its guilty verdict after a short period of deliberation.
Assistant United States Attorneys Jay Hileman and Ryan D. McConnell prosecuted the case.