SWATing Was Cool And All, Until The U.S. Senate Starting All Investigating And Stuff

The fine upstanding terrorists who have decided to attack conservative bloggers with SWATing – the tactic of sending a 911 call via faking the originating phone number to decieve police – is now receiving some high level government attention.  Senator Saxby Chambliss has sent us the following press release calling for an investigation into the matter.  I’m guessing the Feds probably have some decent equipment to track how and where these calls are made.  So, good luck terrorists. Hopefully, your days are numbered.

Chambliss Demands Inquiry Into Attacks Against Conservative Commentators

Sends letter to Attorney General Eric Holder about recent “SWAT-ting” incidents

WASHINGTON – 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.

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.”

The full text of the letter is below: 

June 5, 2012

The Honorable Eric Holder

Attorney General

Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue. NW, Suite 5111

Washington, DC  20530-0009

 

Dear Attorney General Holder:

I am writing with concern regarding recent reports that several members of the community of online political commentators have been targeted with harassing and frightening actions. 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.

According to these individuals’ reports, these dangerous hoaxes, also known as “SWAT-ting,” have a perpetrator contacting a local police department to report some type of violent incident at the home of the target. It is believed that these callers utilize some of the less traditional telecommunications methods, including voice over IP (VOIP) to make the call appear as though it is coming from the target residence and to better hide the true identity of the caller.

In response, a dispatcher then sends a large number of understandably anxious police units, in a heightened state of readiness, to the home of the still unsuspecting target. The first that the target or their unsuspecting family learns of this false report to law enforcement is when they are shocked to see an abnormal police presence descending on their residence.

The use of SWAT-ting as a harassment tool is apparently not new, but its use as a tool for targeting political speech appears to be a more recent development. During the last year, some of the more widely reported cases of SWAT-ting have taken place against blog operators across the country, including in Georgia. The emerging pattern is both disturbing and dangerous.

While these incidences are currently small in number, and have fortunately not led to any accidental physical harm, they are extremely concerning. The perpetrators appear to be targeting individuals who are vigorously exercising their First Amendment rights to political speech. As you know, these reported efforts to intimidate those who choose to enter the political forum and express their opinions are in conflict with the founding principles of our nation.

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.

While I am certain that local law enforcement is reviewing each of these instances, I am asking you to please look into each of these cases as well to determine if any federal laws may have been violated. Future targets of SWAT-ting, whether engaged in political speech or not, may not be so fortunate as to escape physical harm.

I appreciate your attention to this matter, and I look forward to your response no later than June 29, 2012. Please feel free to contact my office with any questions or comments that you may have.

20 comments

  1. Andre says:

    SWAT-ing is just another form of Lawfare; the illegitimate use of domestic or international law with the intention of damaging an opponent, winning a public relations victory, financially crippling an opponent, or tying up the opponent’s time so that they cannot pursue other ventures such as running for public office.

    Lawfare has no place in American politics, and I hope the DOJ puts as much time, effort, and money into stamping out lawfare as the agency is fighting voter ID.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      SWAT-ing is just a tad bit more than an attempt to damage an opponent through political means.

      It appears that SWAT-ing is a means of attempting to indirectly cause serious and deadly physical harm to an political opponent.

      That’s what makes this situation so concerning as any one of the victims of this stunt or the victims’ families could have been gravely hurt.

      We’re talking about attempting to cause deadly physical injury to a political opponent by sending the SWAT team, who is heavily-armed and on-edge, to their personal home.

      This is a dangerous and potentially dangerous precedent that must be dealt with immediately.

  2. Blake says:

    Assuming this happened–I can’t find any news stories on it, and I’m skeptical by nature (and no, I don’t consider Fox reliable)–why say “terrorists”? If it happened, it seems very possible it was this guy Kimberlin alone.

    If it seems like I’m nitpicking, I’m pointing it out because in looking for news about this, I have found huge segments of the rightwing blogosphere attributing this scurrilous, illegal tactic to the progressive left generally, “Obama & Co.,” etc. I don’t think I should have to say that this is an inflammatory overreaction that does nothing to enhance the story’s credibility.

    And finally, since as is well known gamers have been doing this to each other for a while, I’d like to know where Chambliss was then. Or do only conservative bloggers deserve protection?

  3. ckingtruth says:

    What gets me is that we have everyday citizens having this happen to them. Last year in August the Roswell police dept. mentioned the fact that it was becoming a problem. At the time then noted about 60 incidents across the nation. So just because it (allegedly) happens to a couple of conservative pundits the DOJ should get involved?

  4. seenbetrdayz says:

    You could call the SWAT team in my county and it’d probably be the sheriff showing up to see how the family is doing, lol. (Not quite Mayberry, but, not Robocop either)

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