Bomb Suspect Cesar Sayoc Sent Threatening Tweets to Jeff Flake

Twitter has been criticized for not taking action when other users reported abuse

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., speaks before the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting about the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh Friday Sept. 28, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)!
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., speaks before the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting about the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh Friday Sept. 28, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)!
Posted October 29, 2018 at 7:42am

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake received threatening messages on Twitter earlier this month from the man arrested on suspicion of mailing homemade explosive devices to a string of prominent Democrats. 

One message included an aerial photograph of the Republican senator’s home, the Arizona Republic reported

Twitter suspended the account believed to belong to Cesar Sayoc on Friday, but the newspaper obtained screenshots of the posts. Sayoc faces five federal charges and up to 58 years in prison on allegations of sending package bombs to several prominent critics of President Donald Trump.  

“@JeffFlake very nice house Jeff a lot entrances,” Sayoc reportedly posted. “Arizona we will see you Cheryl and your family soon.”

He included four pictures, described by the paper to be the following images: an aerial photograph of the senator’s home in Mesa, a figure walking away from a fiery trailer, a picture of two figures blasting fire from a hose, and the cover of the book “The Art of War.” 

Sayoc began making the threats on Oct. 1, days after Flake made the surprise announcement that he would withhold his vote to confirm Brett M. Kavanaugh until after the FBI had concluded an investigation into the allegations of sexual assault levied against the Supreme Court nominee.

That action was intensely rebuked on Fox News and in other conservative media.

In another post that same day, Sayoc tweeted another four images: a photo of Flake with his wife and their kids, an image of a tarot card symbolizing “death,” an image of a figure with a red gas can and a car, and a picture of the senator and his wife in Washington, D.C.

Law enforcement authorities alerted Flake to unspecified suspicious activity on Wednesday, two days before officials took Sayoc into custody. 

While Flake is not reported to have received one of the mail bombs, the threats against Flake as described by the Arizona Republic are similar to threats made by the account against targets of the attack, including former Vice President Joe Biden and Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California.

Twitter has been the subject of scorn in recent days for not taking action when other users reported the account for making death threats. 

Watch: Sessions, Wray Discuss Suspicious Packages Arrest

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