Man Arrested for Statue of Liberty Bomb Threat

A West Virginia man will appear in a Texas court Wednesday to face charges that he placed a false 911 call threatening that a bomb was at the Statue of Liberty. Authorities allege that Jason Paul Smith, 42, identified himself as an “ISI terrorist” named “Abdul Yasin" during the April 24 call, and said “we” are preparing to “blow up” the statue. Smith, who is hearing impaired, allegedly used a special service to place the call. There is no indication that he is Muslim or an actual ISIS sympathizer. More than 3,000 people were evacuated from the Statue of Liberty in response.

Debra Smith Youngson, the suspect’s mother, said she was surprised and heartbroken when reached Wednesday by The Daily Beast. “I don’t know anything about that, I’m just finding out about this this morning,” she said. “I’m a mother who’s heartbroken. I just can’t imagine what’s going on.”

On her Facebook page, however, Youngson regularly posts anti-Muslim propaganda. The most recent post was made just two hours before she was reached by The Daily Beast. The viral meme about the “Advancement of Islamic Agenda for America” is false, apparently created on a website for Church Sign Maker.

“I don’t have a comment on that,” Youngson said when asked about her posts. “I’m a person who believes... I love my country. I just don’t know what to say right now.”

—Katie Zavadski