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Digital Trail Helps Lead To Terror Hoax Suspect

The computer that a 20-year-old Wisconsin man used to make an online posting that threatened to detonate radioactive 'dirty bombs' may also have led to his discovery and arrest.

Computer forensics played a key role in the investigation that culminated in the Oct. 20 arrest of Jake J. Brahm of Wauwatosa, Wis. Brahm, who is a grocery store worker, was charged with one count of willfully conveying false information or hoaxes threatening buildings through the use of weapons of mass destruction and radiological dispersal devices. His threat involved setting off bombs in football stadiums in seven states on Oct. 22.

Brahm faces a maximum of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

"I can't comment on matters still under investigation but the computer forensics side was very important," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Hammer, chief of the Terrorism Unit in Newark, N.J. "You need to make sure that when you're trying to find out who posted [the threat] that you do have a match with the computer that was used. Computer forensics were critical."

Brahm was allowed to voluntarily surrender in Milwaukee, but he's expected to be brought to Newark within the next two weeks to be indicted. One of the threats was against Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., where the New York Jets were scheduled to play on Oct. 22. The other threatened stadiums were located in Miami, Atlanta, Houston, Cleveland, Seattle, and Oakland, Calif.

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