With the Senate unemployment extension bill hitting a dead end in the Republican-controlled House where Speaker John Boehner refuses to allow a vote on the measure, anger toward the GOP and congress as a whole is running high.
But one Indiana man allegedly crossed a line recently when he threatened Boehner with death for his refusal to support the unemployment extension.
The man not only sent a threatening e-mail — albeit one adorned with six smiley-face emoticons — through the speaker’s online “contact” form, he also somehow obtained a cell phone number for Boehner’s wife Debbie and left threatening voicemail messages about the speaker there as well.
In the messages, the man threatened to rip Boehner’s head off because “you want to play with 2.7 million lives,” and to, “take you out” with a “sniper rifle,” warning that the speaker was “not untouchable.”
Brandon James Thompson of New Castle, Indiana, was taken into custody by the F.B.I. on Thursday, after admitting that he was the source of the threatening messages, according to a criminal complaint filed against him by F.B.I. Special Agent Michael Alford.
Thompson, who had been receiving $341 per week in unemployment benefits until the payments were cut off January 11 after congress failed to vote on a 2014 unemployment extension at the end of last year, admitted that on April 1, he sent the following e-mail message through Boehner’s contact form.
“WELL YOU DRUNK JOHN BIN LADEN ITS TIME TO TAKE YOU OUT MOTHERF***** YOU WANT TO PLAY WITH 2.7 MILLION PEOPLES LIVES I AM GOING TO TAKE YOURS YOU WILL NEVER SEE IT COMING WITH MY SNIPER RIFLE WERE YOU SOON :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)”
To send the message, Thompson connected to the internet using a router in the home of his next-door neighbor, without the neighbor’s knowledge. At the time, the neighbor had not protected his home WiFi network with a password or encryption.
Though investigators were able to trace the message back to the neighbor’s router, they were stymied after that, with no way to know who had accessed the unprotected WiFi network.
But a month later, Thompson — who had somehow obtained the personal cell phone number of Boehner’s wife — left a voicemail message, transcribed in the criminal complaint.
In the message, which Thompson sent from his own cell phone, he told Debbi Boehner, “I’m coming after your oompa loompa f****** husband. He should… he shoulda extended unemployment insurance. Now it’s too late. Imma rip his f****** head off.”
Thompson made 19 calls in total to Debbie Boehner’s phone, but only two contained threatening messages or mentions of the unemployment extension. The second such message said, “You tell your husband to redo the unemployment extension because I’m going to come for him,” one of the calls said. “I’m going to rip his f****** head off. He’s not untouchable, I will get my hands on him.”
Brandon James Thompson, according to the complaint, has no criminal record, though there have been five protective orders taken out against him since 2001. He also allegedly threatened a debt collector with a gun four years ago, according to his neighbor, as reported in the complaint.
The complaint does not say how Thompson obtained Debbie Boehner’s personal cell phone number to leave the threatening messages about the unemployment extension.