Saxby Chambliss calls for probe into ‘SWAT-ting’ of conservative pundits

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the practice of “SWAT-ting” conservative political commentators – fake 911 calls that send police to their homes, guns bristling.

Erick Erickson, a radio and CNN commentator, has been among the recipients of such treatment.

Here’s the text of Chambliss’ letter:

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.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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63 comments Add your comment

Mr. KnowitAll

June 6th, 2012
3:30 pm

…sounds like Richard Nixon’s “dirty tricks” used against his enemies. So…who are Eric Erickson’s enemies?

Partial solution

June 6th, 2012
3:33 pm

Yesterday there was a bomb threat phoned in (from an Atlanta payphone) to the Canton (Cherokee County) courthouse. Probably not coincidentally there was the first Tuesday of every month foreclosure auction happening on the courthouse steps – which got suspended until July. Mission probably accomplished.

At least for this similar tactic, there is a logical solution – change the antiquated law so that such auctions can be conducted on the internet where bomb threats don’t work.

T Schmoll

June 6th, 2012
3:35 pm

Boy, they are getting desperate ain’t they?

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution covers the Chambliss letter. It’s a start… [...]

Curzen

June 6th, 2012
3:38 pm

While we are at it we should also take a critical look at SWAT teams. You may want to look at the number of such units in the metro Atlanta area. When even small towns lie Doraville have their own SWAT team with everything from an armored personnel carrier to fully automatic weapons and explosives something ain’t right. The citizens in uniform have transformed into a frightening and faceless military style force which raids homes at night, shooting dogs and grandmas (remember Kathryn Johnston?).

td

June 6th, 2012
3:41 pm

I am torn on this issue. This is a serious issue I have been reading about when police are called and are told that someone is about to kill another person. This is a local issue and should be handled by local police but since I have read it has happened in multiple states then it may be a FBI issue.

Bobby

June 6th, 2012
3:43 pm

Obviously a concept by some badly misbehaving individuals. The vast majority of liberals would not engage in this type of activity as would most conservatives against liberal commentators.

Bobby

June 6th, 2012
3:44 pm

the last part of my sentence should read “…as neither would most conservatives…”

MD

June 6th, 2012
3:46 pm

The left has become the new thugs. Spoiled little brats that grew up in the no spanking age. Nice.

Grave Robber

June 6th, 2012
3:49 pm

London bridge is falling down, falling down. London bridge is falling down, my fair lady!

mambo

June 6th, 2012
3:51 pm

@Bobby, you’re an idiot! Liberals are the ones who are SWATing conservatives all over the country. Just last week a sheriff’s posse was called to Erick Erickson’s home in Macon.

Weetamoe

June 6th, 2012
3:53 pm

Breitbart warned about the possibility of this terror tactic to silence dissent. The person responsible for the most recent hoaxes was convicted and jailed for a terrorist bombing some years ago. Released, jailed again, served time, released. Now wreaking havoc against conservatives. Look up Speedway Bomber if Wicki has not scrubbed it again. This guy is funded by among other groups the Barbra Streisand Foundation.

CBGB

June 6th, 2012
3:53 pm

I understand the LOCAL authorities getting involved and bringing those involved to justice. But a US Senator getting involved? Hmmm… Besides, I never heard Saxby call for an investigation to the recent arson attacks at women’s health care clinics her en Georgia. I guess Erick Erickson matters more to Saxby than the health and well being of Georgia women. Good to know.

Road Scholar

June 6th, 2012
3:57 pm

Regardless of who is doing it, it is not the ethical thing to sic the police on anyone who is not breaking the law or hurting another person. But wait…isn’t this a local issue? Let the local police investigate and prosecute the offender who makes the bogus call. Why are the feds involved?

Keep doing this GOP

June 6th, 2012
3:58 pm

But Bill O’Reilly wouldnt send his producer to your house when you have proven him wrong to try to intimidate you to saying he’s right.

What these people are doing is wrong, just like Bill is wrong in doing what he has done.

Road Scholar

June 6th, 2012
3:58 pm

Or is it the Repub/Tea party way to cry “states rights” and then go right to the feds for help?

Bobby

June 6th, 2012
3:59 pm

@mambo. You are the one doing the name calling. Until such time as it can be identified who made the unfortunate call to Erick Erickson’s home you may want to wait before passing judgment.

Conservative talk shows such as Erickson have been spewing their hate of other groups for awhile now. Most of those same groups he is SWATing over the radio will be just as steadfast that he has the right to his opinions free from harrassment as their group desires.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution covers the Chambliss letter. It’s a start… [...]

Michael

June 6th, 2012
4:05 pm

Conservatism needs an enemy to find its focus. Without enemies, conservatism has nothing to offer. It is an ideology based entirely on the (usually confabulated) presence of a foe that must be not merely defeated, but obliterated. No ideology has done more harm to more people and to the world than this fundamentally nihilistic, violent, hateful belief system.

If the left wants to see the conservative movement come to harm, all it has to do is stand back and let conservatives have at each other, as they’ve been doing so well and to such oddly comical effect for the past several years. Who needs pranks? Conservatives have each other, so they’ll always have at least one enemy to grouse about and to plot against.

North resident

June 6th, 2012
4:06 pm

CBGB… the “SWAT-ing” is actively trying to get someone injured. It is CLEARLY liberal shenanigans that pose a deadly threat to conservatives (and imagine how the liberal press would be going ape-shiite over this if conservatives did this to liberals). The thuggery of Democrats, left unabated, continues until someone gets hurt.

The fires were 1) not clearly arson, 2) only became suspected arson after it happened in a couple of clinics 3) no one has been implicated 4) were not an immediate danger to any individual. “Arson attack” is hyperbole.

dc

June 6th, 2012
4:13 pm

It’s ok, though, because the victims are evil conservatives……. Gotta love those tolerant liberals… absolutely the most intolerant people I have ever met, unless you 100% agree with them.

Mandingo

June 6th, 2012
4:14 pm

Saxby works hard as hell for lobbyists and conservative bloggers.

Auntie Christ

June 6th, 2012
4:23 pm

north res: ” It is CLEARLY liberal shenanigans that pose a deadly threat to conservatives ”
You’re an idiot. It is just as likely ron paul; supporters. The only reason conservatives aren’t implicated is their well known modus operandi of showing up in bed sheets to intimidate someone, or in army fatigues calling themselves militia.

People like michelle malkin and other rightie shills are famous for posting the names, addresses, phone numbers of people who dare call them on their idiocy, so that their detractors can receive death threats day and night from right wing loons.

(the fires) “were not an immediate danger to any individual. “Arson attack” is hyperbole.” I lost a life long good friend, fire fighter in an insurance arson fire, tell the fire fighters that there was no immediate danger.

catlady

June 6th, 2012
4:23 pm

Believe it or not, this happened to my neighbor back in January. Before dragging him out at 4 am, gunds drawn, throwing open all the doors to his house and letting his (wood) heat out, they came and woke ME up to ask questions about him! I had no idea what was going on (you don’t expect 911 to call YOU to go to the door at 3:45 am!) but answered their questions–enough so that they knew it was a prank call. Then they went down and dragged him out anyway! My neighbor is involved to some degree in Tea Party and other conservative groups. I thought it was just a prank call, but this puts another angle to it.

kewl

June 6th, 2012
4:31 pm

next thing you know they’ll be bombing abortion clinics.

Newsflash

June 6th, 2012
4:33 pm

Perhaps the reason Chambliss did not call for the feds to investigate the women’s clinic arsons (if in fact he did not) is because THEY WERE ALREADY LEADING THE INVESTIGATION. http://www.ajc.com/news/womens-clinics-on-heightened-1446171.html?cxtype=rss_news_61499

CBGB

June 6th, 2012
4:37 pm

North resident: The fires were 1) not clearly arson, 2) only became suspected arson after it happened in a couple of clinics 3) no one has been implicated 4) were not an immediate danger to any individual. “Arson attack” is hyperbole.

Oh. Well then never mind. Arson is no big deal… even though there were women in the clinic at the time the arsonist struck. So yeah… just poor women so no big deal. If they die so what? Erick Erickson was woken up by the police! That is FAR more important.

honested

June 6th, 2012
4:38 pm

At least this is a waste of valuable Police Resources.

Cons, neocons, nutcons, and teacons should tell their marketing and promotion arms to stop this now.
Their ratings are not worth the waste of public resources.

kewl

June 6th, 2012
4:39 pm

You reap what you sew, cons.

GaBlue

June 6th, 2012
4:49 pm

Have they arrested the GRTL thugs who broke into the offices of the OBGYN association and stole the laptops with the doctors’ names and home addresses on them, and set fire to multiple women’s health services clinics in the area yet? When Dan self-appointed-bullman to the women of this state Becker is bold enough to threaten a Republican state legislator in broad daylight, the righties chuckle at how he and his thugs exercise their right to tell other people what to think and do — OR ELSE.

Did Saxby write a letter to any AG anywhere about these bully tactics? Just curious.

honested

June 6th, 2012
5:07 pm

GaBlue,

I don’t think so, but I don’t think sax received a campaign contribution (or free publicity) to make it worth his while (he uses very, very, very expensive ink you know).

Brydie

June 6th, 2012
5:10 pm

The feds should look into it because it is happening to people in multiple states, and it is probably being done by a person from yet another state.

GaBlue

June 6th, 2012
5:14 pm

honested,

Good point! Georgia’s elected officials only represent whom they’re paid to represent — and the piddly little paychecks they’re cashing (our tax $$ at work) don’t count.

Edward

June 6th, 2012
5:14 pm

Awww, poor “conservatives” getting all butthurt. And someone has the nerve to invoke anything said by that, thankfully deceased, Breitbart, the master of lies and deceit? Chambliss is a confirmed liar and coward who is well-versed in attacking anyone, including slandering disabled veterans. The whole lot makes me sick to my stomach.
Karma will prevail, mark my words.

MrLiberty

June 6th, 2012
5:15 pm

Of course Saxby has voted EVERY single time to increase the size and scope of the criminal fascist police state that has destroyed our liberties and our freedoms, but now he is upset that this militarized occupation force that infests all of our cities is being used against folks who blindly support his two-faced policies. Thanks a bunch Saxby. Maybe if you had kept the feds out of the local police forces, ended the war on drugs, and other sound/consitutional approaches, there wouldn’t even be the kind of bloodthirsty SWAT teams that now murder innocents all over this country on a regular basis.

Ol' Timer

June 6th, 2012
5:18 pm

I didn’t know this blog was inhabited by a bunch of prophets who could tell who was making the calls before the perpetrator was caught. Could one of you Einsteins tell me what the stock market is going to do tomorrow?

Mark

June 6th, 2012
5:34 pm

Wait, I thought former Enron adviser Paul Krugman has said “there isn’t any place” for “eliminationist rhetoric,” or as he puts it “suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary.”

Oh, that’s right, he says such rhetoric is “coming, overwhelmingly, from the right.”

Auntie Christ

June 6th, 2012
5:36 pm

Saxby like all repubs has to selectively pick and choose what to be outraged about, lest he spend it unwisely. Clinton having sex and lying about it, OUTRAGEOUS! Bush lying about saddam having yellow cake uranium and wmd, yawn. Obama helping a start up solar company with seed money, OUTRAGEOUS! cheney’s company receives gazillion dollar no bid contract to wage war, meh, no big deal. Women getting coverage for contraceptives, OUTRAGEOUS! They’re a bunch of sluts. Men covered for viagra, why of course they should, sex is natural. A man wants to pull the plug on his brain dead wife, OUTRAGEOUS! santorum, bush, lott, half the r’s in DC head to FL. Wannabe Clint Eastwood kills an unarmed teenager in FL, well sh—t happens, ya know, civil rights leaders have no business going there.

honested

June 6th, 2012
5:36 pm

Ol’ Timer,

All I can say about the ‘Preferred Gambling Enterprises’ (stock market) is it won’t be a good day to buy Facebook tomorrow.
But any fool could tell you that.

Auntie Christ

June 6th, 2012
5:53 pm

Well one thing we do know about the stock market, which was up almost 290 points today, is that it isn’t Obama’s stock market. A few years ago, before it started it’s unprecedented run upward, while we were still swooning over bush’s failures, it was Obama’s stock market according to pox news. I guess pox will be claiming ronald raygun’s ghost is behind this rally. Likewise gas prices, up a few months ago when Obama magically and maliciously caused them to skyrocket, have now come down considerably, due to someone, something, anything other than Obama. go figure.

td

June 6th, 2012
6:01 pm

Auntie Christ

June 6th, 2012
5:53 pm

Could the stock market rise today be related to people feeling better about Obama not being re elected now?

honested

June 6th, 2012
6:15 pm

Auntie Christ

Just wait till gas prices accurately reflect the massive reduction in crude prices.
If I remember right, when things were ‘on the way up’, 84.00 Oil had Regular gas at about 2.70. So what accounts for the .75 premium currently being charged?
Do the preferred oil barrons get .75 a gallon to hedge against demand that MAY come to pass in 5 years?
Lunacy brought to you by the same people who bought a failing governor in Wisconsin.

and td, I feel every bit as comfortable about Re-Election of President Obama today as I ever have.

Auntie Christ

June 6th, 2012
6:30 pm

Could the stock market rise today be related to people feeling better about Obama not being re elected now?

No more so than it is related to Green Bay winning the Super Bowl last January.

[...] Malkin reports that the Atlanta Journal Constitution is covering the letter and Instapundit reports, via Dan Riehl, that Jake Tapper is aware of the [...]

Nation of Laws

June 6th, 2012
9:07 pm

For the full background on this situation, read this blog written by Los Angeles Assistant District Attorney Patrick “Patterico” Frey who was one of the first conservative bloggers who was SWAT’ed . It’s a lengthy but chilling read.

http://patterico.com/2012/05/25/convicted-bomber-brett-kimberlin-neal-rauhauser-ron-brynaert-and-their-campaign-of-political-terrorism/

honested

June 6th, 2012
9:55 pm

nation of laws,

If you forward that to anyone else, make sure they have plenty of coffee on hand.
That is a real snoozer.

[...] as the silent MFM. Except for FNC who at least did a segment on Erick Erickson’s SWATting.Political InsiderU.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the practice of [...]

WardOffMonkey

June 6th, 2012
10:34 pm

Yep honested, that’s a real snoozer to you because it contains a detailed outline of the facts of the case that don’t fit your liberal narrative of liberals/progressives good and conservatives bad. Facts just upset your little apple cart.

[...] also a sub-thread linking to The Other McCain,  American Power, Riehl World View, Political Insider, The Jawa Report, UrbanGrounds, The Camp Of The Saints, Pirate’s [...]

Apt604

June 6th, 2012
11:39 pm

Dear Attorney General Holder:

We think you’re the worst Attorney General ever, and we demand your immediate resignation. By the way, can you catch these people who are bothering us in the next few weeks?

Sincerely,
Hypocrites