The messages said shrapnel bombs would go off soon in two of four buildings, including one where prosecutors say Kim was supposed to take an exam at 9 a.m. Monday. The buildings, on Harvard’s campus in Cambridge, just outside Boston, were shut down for hours before investigators determined there were no explosives.
Kim, who lives in Cambridge, will be released on unsecured bond of $100,000 to the custody of his sister and uncle. If he defaults, his family will be liable. He has also been ordered to stay off Harvard property.
Investigators from several agencies searched the buildings for hours before determining there were no explosives. One of the buildings was a freshman dormitory; classes are held in the other three.
Harvard said in a statement it was “saddened” by the allegations in the federal complaint but would have no further comment on the ongoing criminal investigation.
An FBI affidavit filed Tuesday says Harvard determined Kim had accessed TOR, a free Internet product that assigns a temporary anonymous Internet protocol address, using the university’s wireless network.
The affidavit says Kim told an agent on Monday night he had acted alone and sent the messages to five or six Harvard email addresses he picked at random.
He said he sent them about half an hour before he was scheduled to take a final in Emerson Hall, one of the buildings threatened, the affidavit says. He said he was in Emerson at 9 a.m. when a fire alarm sounded and he knew his plan had worked, it says.
Kim said he sent the emails from his laptop computer using TOR and Guerrilla Mail, a free Internet application that creates temporary and anonymous email addresses, according to the affidavit.
Kim’s LinkedIn profile says he is an undergraduate scholar at Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences. The institute’s website says he is a research assistant who has worked for a professor analyzing partisan taunting and also writes for the Harvard International Review and dances as a member of the Harvard Breakers.
The maximum penalties for a bomb hoax are five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, prosecutors said.
Federal authorities say Eldo Kim emailed several bomb threats to offices associated with Harvard University, including the Harvard University Police Department and the Harvard Crimson, the student-run daily newspaper.
A criminal complaint says on Monday, at approximately 8:30 a.m., the Harvard University Police Department, two officials of Harvard University and the president of the Harvard Crimson received identical email messages bearing a subject line that read “bombs placed around campus.”
Unconfirmed reports of explosives at Harvard University
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., —All four buildings on Harvard University’s campus that were evacuated Monday morning after campus police received an unconfirmed report that explosives may have been placed inside, have been cleared and reopened.
The report warned of explosives at Harvard’s Science Center, Thayer, Sever and Emerson Halls.
An “all clear” was issued for Thayer and Emerson Halls just before 1 p.m. A similar order was issued for Sever Hall and Harvard Yard just before 2 p.m. The last building cleared was the Science Center at about 2:45 p.m.
Three of the buildings evacuated border Harvard Yard and access to Harvard Yard was restricted to residents of the Yard with Harvard identification, the university said.
“There were 300 students in our constitutional law class who had just sat down for exams in the Science Center when fire alarms went off,” said junior Matt Wardrop.
Final exams have begun at the Ivy League school, and exams scheduled in the affected buildings were canceled, the Harvard Crimson reported.
“I think people were concerned, but people who had morning exams like I did were slightly relieved we didn’t have to take them,” said Wardrop.
Last month, another Ivy League school, Yale University in Connecticut, was locked down for nearly six hours while authorities investigated a phone call saying an armed man was heading to shoot it up, a warning they later said was likely a hoax.
And in February, someone called in a hoax about a gunman on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, another elite school about two miles from Harvard. The university said the gunman was a staff member looking for revenge after the suicide of an Internet activist accused of illegally using MIT computers.
Students at Weymouth High School were evacuated and later dismissed following a bomb threat at the school.
The superintendent’s office initially called it an “emergency situation” and students were brought to the football field for a short time, and then dismissed from school for the day.
According to a message received by parents, the school discovered a written bomb threat in a restroom.
“We followed our established emergency procedures and students were evacuated safely and efficiently within minutes of the threat being reported,” Weymouth High Interim Principal Peter Haviland said in the message.
Haviland said the Weymouth police and fire departments were doing a thorough sweep of the school. “Be assured, we will be working closely with the Weymouth police to identify the person responsible for this crime,” the message from Haviland said.