Just in from the Justice Department:
A former leader of the white supremacist group Atomwaffen Division pleaded guilty today to charges related to his role in a conspiracy that conducted multiple swatting events targeting journalists, a Virginia university, a historic Virginia church, and a former cabinet official.
According to court documents, John Cameron Denton, 26, of Montgomery, Texas, is a former leader of the Atomwaffen Division in Texas. From October 2018 to at least April 2019, Denton and several others conspired together to conduct “swatting” calls.
Swatting is a harassment tactic that involves deceiving dispatchers into believing that a person or persons are in imminent danger of death or bodily harm and causing the dispatchers to send police and emergency services to an unwitting third party’s address.
According to court documents, Denton participated in a conspiracy that conducted three swatting calls that occurred here in the Eastern District of Virginia: a former Cabinet official living in Northern Virginia on Jan. 27, 2019; Old Dominion University on Nov. 29 and Dec. 4, 2018; and Alfred Street Baptist Church on Nov. 3, 2018.
Additionally, Denton chose at least two targets to “swat”: the New York City office of ProPublica, a non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism; and an investigative journalist that produced materials for ProPublica.
Denton chose the two targets because he was furious with ProPublica and the investigative journalist for publishing his true identity and discussing his role in Atomwaffen Division.
The Washington Post reports:
They called the New York Police Department to ProPublica’s office in December 2018, according to the criminal complaint, claiming there was a pipe bomb, hostage and dead body inside. A dozen officers responded and cleared the floor in question; one employee was there and “visibly shaken,” according to the complaint.
Two months later, prosecutors say the group called police to ProPublica write A.C. Thompson’s home in California, claiming he was armed and had just killed his wife. He and his wife were briefly detained by police. According to the complaint, Denton confessed to his role in an interview with an undercover agent last month.
Four others were arrested with Denton in February and their cases have not yet concluded.