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Harvard student admits to bomb threat to avoid finals, affidavit says

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Two days after a bomb threat shut down the Harvard campus during the intense final exam period, the student allegedly responsible for making the threats will appear in a Boston court.

Eldo Kim, 20, who was named in a criminal complaint, confessed to the bomb threats late Monday, according to an affidavit submitted by FBI Special Agent Thomas M. Dalton, who is investigating the case.

According to the affidavit, Kim sent emails Monday morning to the Harvard University Police Department, two Harvard officials, and the president of the Harvard Crimson with the subject "bombs placed around campus." The body of the email, which was sent at 8:30 a.m., read:

"shrapnel bombs placed in:

science center

sever hall

emerson hall

thayer hall

2/4 guess correctly.

be quick for they will go off soon"

Kim, a sophomore, was scheduled to take an exam at Emerson Hall that morning, and was in the exam room when the fire alarm went off, the affidavit said. There were 10 exams scheduled in Emerson that morning, according to Harvard's website. The exams included Greek, Russian and German language classes, and a test on the history of the Renaissance in Florence. Kim is a psychology major, according to the Harvard Crimson. He could have been taking one of the exams in Emerson on the Statistics of Probability or an Introduction to Social Anthropology.

Kim took steps to hide his identity by using a service called Guerrilla Mail, which creates temporary and anonymous email addresses for free. Kim accessed Guerrilla Mail by using TOR, which assigns anonymous IP addresses for free, the affidavit says. The steps weren't enough, however: Harvard was able to determine that Kim had accessed TOR using Harvard's wireless network. 

When the FBI went to Kim's dorm Monday night, they advised him of his Miranda rights and he confessed to authoring the bomb threats to avoid taking an exam. He said he used the word 'shrapnel' because it sounded dangerous, the affidavit said.

According to a short bio of an "Eldo Kim" on a Harvard website, Kim wrote for the Harvard International Review and danced on a team called the Harvard Breakers his freshman year. At the time, he intended to major in psychology, with a second concentration in Japanese. 

"In his free time, he enjoys playing pool, trying new restaurants, watching terrible cult films, and playing with his Mini Schnauzer puppy," the website says.  

Kim appears before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith G. Dein on Wednesday. He faces maximum penalties of five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

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alana.semuels@latimes.com

Twitter: @AlanaSemuels

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