By Dr. Rich Swier – Florida Representatives Sandy Adams, District 24, and Allen West, District 22, sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder regarding the growing threat of “SWAT-ting” and its costly ramifications. Eighty-seven members of Congress signed the letter.
Rep. Adams and West note, “Lately, there have been a string of threats directed at conservative bloggers where individuals call emergency dispatchers under the guise of another person’s name with fraudulent claims of a violent crime taking place. These claims then cause local law enforcement to rapidly respond to the home of innocent Americans, and in some instances they have done so with guns drawn.”
“Even more egregious, SWAT-ting is quickly becoming a scare tactic used against political bloggers in an effort to stifle their First Amendment rights,” notes Rep. Adams and West.
The majority of SWAT-ting cases utilize voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) connections between the suspect’s computer and a distant telephone network, then dialing 911. This technology allows the caller to falsify their identifying information, making it almost impossible for emergency dispatchers to identify or track the origin of the call.
Rep. Adams is a former law enforcement officer, and finds “SWAT-ting is of great concern to me”.
“This practice is incredibly dangerous and it is only a matter of time before somebody gets seriously injured. It not only puts the victims in harm’s way, but it endangers the entire community,” note Reps. Adams and West. In the letter Rep. Adams and West urges Attorney General Eric Holder to “investigate these cases to determine whether any federal laws have been breached, and to prosecute those crimes accordingly. Nobody should have their lives put at risk for exercising their First Amendment rights.”
The letter notes, “Just last month, a popular blogger in the state of Georgia, Erick Erickson became the victim of the latest SWAT-ting. During the Erickson’s family dinner, sheriffs deputies were dispatched to Erickson’s home after receiving a 911 call…”
The letter warns, “While none of the SWAT-ting victims have incurred physical harm from these hate filled ploys, we are gravely concerned that future victims may not find themselves so lucky.”