SWAT-ting: A Prank or Dangerous?

By | June 27, 2012

Have you heard of this? SWAT-ting is falsely placing a call to the 9-1-1Operator and reporting a serious crime in progress using another’s name or address.

By using new technology the perpetrator is able to make it look like the call is placed from inside the ‘victim’s’ home. The 9-1-1 Operator dispatches an Emergency Response Team, sometimes SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics). Police arrive anticipating something horrendous while the victim innocently answers the door.

It seems this originated as a prank played by youth with technological know how who were able to spoof the telephone number, tricking Emergency Services into seeing the victim’s phone number and address. Using this harassment tool to target political speech is more recent.  Within the past month two outspoken, controversial conservative bloggers have been targeted. Erick Erickson of the RedState.com website was hit. The emergency dispatcher was told that, “I just shot my wife. . .” “I’m going to shot someone else, soon.” Accordingly, police were sent to his home. In an interview with CNN Erickson shares the experience. The 9-1-1 call is chilling in its serious tone.

This week blogger Aaron Walker, author of Archangel, had a similar incident. Both of these men and their families were put in significant danger when police arrived at their homes looking for a murderer.

Calling 9-1-1, pretending to be someone who you do not like is no joke. Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia wrote to the Attorney General urging him to investigate this matter. These hoaxes may be life threatening. Americans value Freedom of Speech, whether one agrees with the speech or not. This type of harassment,  hoping to silence these speakers, should not be tolerated.



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