Northeastern Lab Manager Faked Bombing and Note Railing Against Zuckerberg, FBI Says

Law enforcement said university technology manager Jason Duhaime had a draft copy of a note on his work computer that matched the supposed bomber's.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
A boston police officer wearing a Boston Police Bomb Squad outfit holds a door for another officer with holding a leash for a dog.
Boston police had rushed to Northeastern University Sept. 13 after a supposed bomb threat that targeted the school’s VR office. Now the FBI has said it was all a big hoax.
Photo: Rodrique Ngowi (AP)

The Northeastern University employee who originally said he discovered a bomb and rambling letter threatening violence to both the school and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerburg was arrested early Tuesday, with the FBI alleging the man faked it all. He previously denied staging the attack.

In a press conference held midday Tuesday, FBI officials said 45-year-old Jason Duhaime, a tech manager at Northeastern University who handles IT work for the college, had fabricated a bombing in September and conspiracy-minded letter that caused panic at the campus and far beyond. Federal law enforcement said they found a word-for-word copy of the supposed bomber’s manifesto on Duhaime’s work computer inside a backup folder. The last time the document was edited was Sept. 13 at 2:57 p.m., just four hours before the man contacted police about the explosives.

In an unsealed complaint, the FBI charged Duhaime with fabricating a supposed bombing incident and lying to the FBI. At the time of the supposed attack, police said they were called to Holmes Hall at the college’s Boston, Massachusetts campus late on Sept. 13. Reports said a man had suffered “minor hand injuries” from a supposed explosive-packed package inside a Pelican case. Cops said they recovered another package on campus but they had it “rendered safe.”

Advertisement

Duhaime was arrested at his home in San Antonio, Texas where he lives with his girlfriend, according to the FBI. Law enforcement said this was an active investigation and they did not give any hint of Duhaime’s alleged motive. The name of the ex-Northeastern employee’s attorney was not available by press time.

During initial reports in September, the now ex-employee, who at that time remained unnamed, told The Boston Globe “I did not stage this… no way, shape, or form.”

Advertisement

The university released a statement following the employees arrest saying “The university does not comment on personnel matters, but we can confirm that Mr. Duhaime is no longer employed by Northeastern.” Duhaime’s name was reportedly removed from his campus office following news of his arrest.

Advertisement

In the Tuesday press conference, the FBI said that after arriving, officers found the case and letter were “pristine” and did not show any signs they were subjected to an explosion, and they did not find any debris consistent with an explosion anywhere around where the detonation supposedly occurred.

The letter included in the FBI’s document threatened the Northeastern lab claiming its operators were “working with Mr. Mark Zuckerberg and the US [sic] government!!!!” while further decrying the lab for “using us all as human test subjects.” Duhaime’s bio said he supported the university with virtual and augmented reality technology.

Advertisement
Left image shows the Pelican case the FBI said Duhaime claimed contained an explosive device. The right shows the letter Duhaime allegedly claimed had come from the unknown bomber.
Left image shows the Pelican case the FBI said Duhaime claimed contained an explosive device. The right shows the letter Duhaime allegedly claimed had come from the unknown bomber.
Screenshot: FBI

Local station WCVB had previously reported based on unnamed sources close to the investigation that the incident was being investigated as a hoax, and that there had been no real explosives inside the packages. Those sources claimed that the man who discovered the packages had injuries inconsistent with what was described.

Advertisement

Those earlier reports about potential fakes are consistent with what’s alleged in the FBI’s complaint. Officers noticed that Duhaime was wearing a long sleeve shirt. Despite injuries the tech manager said he received to his lower forearms, his shirt appeared undamaged. Based on a recorded interview included in the FBI’s documents, Duhaime said the shrapnel from the explosion “flew up underneath” his shirt and hit his arm.