• FBI warns Jewish center after finding bomb materials

    By: Aaron Diamant

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - Channel 2 Action News has confirmed the FBI issued a warning to Atlanta's Jewish Community Center after the discovery of bomb-making materials at a local park.
               
    "It's unsettling and we deal with it in the best way possible," said Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta CEO Gail Luxenberg.
     
    Luxenberg spoke exclusively with investigative reporter Aaron Diamant about the phone call she got from the FBI earlier this month.
     
    "You don't like getting tough phone calls no matter what they are," Luxenberg said.
     
    On Nov. 5, federal agents scoured Vickery Creek Park in Roswell looking for explosives, after two hikers' disturbing discovery a day earlier.
     
    "What we found was a backpack that contained (improvised explosive device) components, so items that can be used to make a bomb," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Angela Tobon.
     
    Now sources tell Channel 2 Action News other items found at the scene led the FBI to alert several specific Jewish institutions in metro-Atlanta, including the MJCCA.
     
    "This is an eventuality that we are prepared for, we've trained for, we have procedures to deal with," Luxenberg said.
     
    Luxenberg would not discuss any details about what FBI agents told her or what action center staff took.
     
    "If I talked about the specifics of what we did, then we wouldn't be a secure place," Luxenberg explained.
     
    For center members the alert comes as a wake-up call.
     
    "All of a sudden you realize how vulnerable you are," said Carol Harless. "Obviously there are people in the area that are hateful and want to hurt people."
     
    While the FBI continues its investigation, Robert Friedmann, director of the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange at Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Public Policy, has his own theory on the items found in the backpack.
     
    "This is more grabbing the attention of first responders, law enforcement to the existence of the package," Friedmann said. "Lots of people like to see their name in the paper and on television, and this is an almost assured way of getting there."
     
    Channel 2 Action News is still working to confirm which other facilities received a warning from the FBI. Meanwhile, Friedmann feels the FBI acted appropriately.
     
    "I'd rather have law enforcement and security personnel be more careful and more mindful of potential threats than the other way around," Friedmann said.


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