- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 16, 2015

New York city officials dismissed the bomb threat its own public schools and Los Angeles schools received Monday as a hoax likely concocted by a fan of the Showtime drama “Homeland.”

New York City public schools did not close down any of its campuses Tuesday but the same threat prompted Los Angeles Unified School District to close all 900 of its schools.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton suggested that the author of the threats is most likely a “Homeland” fan, saying the outlandish hoax read like a screenplay from the drama.

“The instigator of the threat may be a ‘Homeland’ fan,” Commissioner Bratton said, Variety reported. “Basically, watching ‘Homeland’ episodes that it mirrors.”

The email threat was traced to an IP address in Frankfurt, Germany, but it is possible that the sender masked his or her location.

“There has been some initial reporting that it may have come from an IP address out of Germany. We are doing that attribution now back to possibly Europe, where the source of this threat may have come from,” Rep. Mike McCaul, Texas Republican and House Homeland Security Committee chairman, told MSNBC’s Brian Williams. “[S]o we don’t, again, know the source of the threat itself or how credible, but we do know that the terrorists have looked at exploiting this means of social media as a device to shut things down.”

The current season of “Homeland” is set in Germany and its plot deals with cyber-terrorism.

No episodes of the hit show have dealt with threats to school districts, the show is known for drawing inspiration from real news events.

Earlier Tuesday, Mr. de Blasio told reporters he was “absolutely convinced” that the threat was a hoax and there was no danger to New York school children.

Commissioner Bratton blasted Los Angeles officials for overreacting to the threat, which came in the form of a “generic” email to many cities around the country.

Islamic State supporters celebrated the shutdown on Twitter, gloating over the latest threat to cause mass panic in America.

On Tuesday evening Los Angeles school officials said they had inspected all campuses and the FBI had discredited the threat. All schools were scheduled to reopen Wednesday.

“We believe that our schools are safe and we can reopen schools in Los Angeles Unified School District tomorrow morning,” school board President Steve Zimmer said in an evening news conference, the Los Angeles Times reported.

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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