Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) wrote yesterday to Eric Holder and demanded that the Attorney General investigate the recent reports of SWATtings against several conservative commentators and bloggers. The SWATtings are merely one component of a long-standing campaign of alleged harassment and lawfare.
Today, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder regarding recent reports that several conservative political commentators have been targeted with harassing and frightening actions. Chambliss demanded that Holder examine these cases to determine if federal laws have been violated.
SWATting is a “prank” so named by the FBI for the type of law enforcement response triggered by the activity. An impostor makes an emergency call to authorities that results in a rapid response against the intended target. While it is not always an actual SWAT (special weapons and tactics) team that responds to the target location, the response itself usually consists of numerous armed law enforcement personnel that descend upon the scene in a coordinated fashion that is not unlike that of trained SWAT officers.
Today, there’s a new, much more serious twist on this old crime. It’s called “swatting,” and it involves calling 9-1-1 and faking an emergency that draws a response from law enforcement–usually a SWAT team.
Needless to say, these calls are dangerous to first responders and to the victims. The callers often tell tales of hostages about to be executed or bombs about to go off. The community is placed in danger as responders rush to the scene, taking them away from real emergencies. And the officers are placed in danger as unsuspecting residents may try to defend themselves.
The most recent incident of SWATtings targeted CNN Contributor and managing editor of RedState.com, Erick Erickson. Additional SWATtings were targeted at Patrick Frey, a deputy district attorney at Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office who also blogs under the pseudonym Patterico, and against Mike Stack, who played a role in exposing the online activity of former New York Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner last year.
The letter from Senator Chambliss’ website continues:
These dangerous hoaxes, also known as “SWAT-ting,” occur when a perpetrator contacts local police to report a violent incident at a target’s home. These callers are believed to utilize voice-over IP (VOIP) and other less-traditional telecommunications methods to make the call appear to come from the target residence and to hide the caller’s true identity.
In response, a dispatcher sends a SWAT team or other police unit in a heightened state of readiness to the unsuspecting target’s residence. Targets only learn of these false reports when a large police presence descends upon their homes.
In the letter, Chambliss states that “Any potentially criminal action that incites fear, seeks to silence a dissenting opinion, and collaterally wastes the resources of law enforcement should be given close scrutiny at all levels… Regardless of any potential political differences that may exist, threats and intimidation have no place in our national political discourse. Those who choose to enter into that political discourse should not have to worry about potential threats to their or their family’s safety.”
You can read the entire signed letter from the Senator here.
Photo credit: Douglas County Sherriff