The FBI’s Newark office issued a stark warning Thursday as it announced it had received “credible information” about a nonspecific but widescale threat to synagogues in New Jersey.
The FBI described the threat, shared by the bureau’s Newark office on Twitter around 3 p.m., as “broad.” However, a senior law enforcement official told News 4 New York that warning the public was done in “an abundance of caution.”
“We ask at this time that you take all security precautions to protect your community and facility,” FBI Newark tweeted in part. “We shall share more information as soon as we can. Stay alert. In case of emergency call police.”
Although there is no specific plot or action underway, according to the source, because the internet threat was deemed credible, the FBI felt it was important to alert the public via social media so communities and synagogues could take security precautions. Synagogues across the state were asked to remain vigilant, and police in some communities were stepping up patrols.
The FBI’s investigation is underway to determine who was behind the threat, which was posted online. Numerous law enforcement officials said the alert was issued because of a general threat to New Jersey temples. Officials stressed there was no specific plot nor a specific temple mentioned as a possible target.
Following the FBI’s precautionary warning, Gov. Phil Murphy said he is “closely monitoring the situation and working with local law enforcement.” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said she had also been briefed, adding that there was no related threat in New York.
The NYPD said it was also monitoring threat streams.
Despite the warning from law enforcement, some law enforcement officials were left scratching their heads as to why this threat was deemed more credible than many others posted every day. But with a major increase in antisemitic incidents, officials in New Jersey said the warning was sent as a reminder for vigilance.
“It was a non-specific threat. We have a system in place for making sure the word is out and that all the players are involved and mobilized. But in that environment you have to be careful,” New York/New Jersey Anti-Defamation League Director Scott Richman said of the warning and spike in antisemitic incidents.