By David Shepardson
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said on Wednesday it was exploring what it could do to help law enforcement track down who has made telephone threats to nearly 100 Jewish Community Centers across the United States in recent months.
Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, on Wednesday urged FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to grant a waiver to access phone numbers used to call in threats and "help bring criminals to justice."
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An FCC spokesman said Pai "is actively exploring what steps the FCC can take quickly to help Jewish Community Centers and law enforcement combat these threats." He did not say if Pai would grant the waiver.
Homeland Security chief John Kelly said on Wednesday he had directed the department to "heighten our outreach and support to enhance public safety" in light of the threats.
Department officials had offered protective measures and other support in a conversation with directors of the Jewish Community Center Association of North America, Kelly said in a statement.
Schumer's letter said bomb threats were simultaneously made to JCCs in 11 states on Monday - the fifth wave of threats in the past two months.
The letter noted that the Middletown School District in New York state was inundated last year by phone calls making terrorism threats from anonymous numbers. In that case, then-FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler worked to approve a special waiver to access the caller information of the individuals making the threats, Schumer said.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Frances Kerry and Leslie Adler)