Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Los Angeles) doubts the credibility of the emailed threat toward the 900 schools in Los Angeles Unified School District.
Sherman said in an interview the message “lacks the feel of the way the jihadists usually write.” Sherman is a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
He said he had reviewed the email, which spurred the district’s closure Tuesday morning.
Sherman said the roughly 350-word message does not capitalize Allah in one instance, nor does it cite a Koranic verse or mention any incident in Mohammad’s life.
He said the email demonstrated a more in-depth knowledge of assault weapons than of Islam.
“There isn’t a person on the street who couldn’t have written this,” with a basic level of knowledge of Islam, Sherman said. “Everybody in Nebraska could have written this.”
He said the email’s from line uses a pornographic term to reference a male body part.
“Devout Muslims and extremists don’t do that,” he said.
Sherman said the writer referenced Liechtenstein.
Sherman is the former chairman of the House subcommittee on terrorism.
The congressman said the email writer also claimed to be a victim of bullying.
Sherman said elements of the supposed attack outlined in the email lacked credibility, such as the claim that 32 people would be involved or that those people had nerve gas.
Still, he said, “while some of the description of the attack that they are threatening lacks credibility doesn’t mean that it all lacks credibility. I don’t know whether this was sent by a radical Islamic jihadist or somebody who had an anti-Islamic agenda or just a prankster.”
He said the email specifically references Los Angeles, Bakersfield, San Bernardino and San Diego, but made a direct threat toward LAUSD.
“There is some personalization of it that shows that the person does have at least a passing understanding of Southern California,” Sherman said.