VoIP Business and Virtual PBX
VoIP buster

80 Members of Congress Call on Holder to Investigate SWATing

We write you concerning the growing threat of "SWAT-ting" and its costly ramifications. These crimes occur when individuals call emergency dispatchers in accordance with the guise of another person’s name with fraudulent claims, causing local law enforcement to swarm the home of innocent Americans. SWAT-ting first arose in 2002, however as research and the Internet has expanded, the dangers of SWAT-ting are as well on the rise. Investigators have concluded that the majority of SWAT-ting cases utilize voice over Internet connections between the suspect’s computer and a distant telephone network, and at the time dialing 911. This enables the suspect to falsify their identifying information, just as their telephone number and address, and make it near impossible for emergency dispatchers to identify or track the true origin of the call, or even pin-point calls from VOIP connections. Some of these calls involve embellished schemes, including armed suspects and hostages, and in some instances, the caller claims that he has just killed someone. In addition, the caller knowingly uses the identifying information of another person, who is broadly speaking an adversary of the caller. This elaborate hoax is all done with the goal of having law enforcement swarm the home of the caller’s foe, which only incites fear in and tarnishes the reputation of an innocent person. Even worse, SWAT-ting is quickly becoming a scare tactic used against political bloggers, in essence stifling those bloggers’ First Amendment rights. Just last month, a popular blogger in the state of Georgia, Erick Erickson, became the latest victim of SWAT-ting. While the Erickson’s family dinner, sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Erickson’s home afterwards receiving a 911 call reporting an accidental shooting that appeared to have come from Erickson’s address. Fortunately, Erickson before alerted police to SWAT-ting tactics; on the whole, numerous similar scenarios have ended with guiltless victims held at gunpoint. During 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. Plus, when law enforcement officers are responding to SWAT-ting claims, resources are diverted from those in fact in need–all of this because of differences in political ideology. Differences of opinion should enrich our lives, not divide us. Each American has the right to freely express his or her ideas and should not be subject to fear tactics like SWAT-ting, which run counter to the liberty that forms the bedrock of our great nation. These crimes are not to be tolerated and necessitate thorough examination at every level. We urge you to hold true to those promises and work to ensure that criminals using fear in hopes to preventing others from exercising their First Amendment rights are held to the highest standard of the law. With this aim, we implore you to absolutely review each of these cases, determine whether any federal laws have been breached, and prosecute those crimes consequently.

As most of you know, my family was swatted on May 27, 2012. The police, at that time, told me they were responding to a 911 call about an accidental shooting. I now have the 911 call. It turns out that the call was not about an accidental shooting. The caller said I had shot my wife, she was dead on the floor in front of me, and I was going off to shoot someone else. You can hear the call yourself right here. What I did not know that Sunday night as the Sheriff’s Deputy pulled into the driveway is that the sheriff’s dispatcher called out on the radio to "take the house," meaning to block off any avenues of exit. There were more police officers present than I saw. On Friday night, I spent an hour talking about this on the radio. You can listen to that here. Lee Stranahan joined me and we both are of the opinion that the voice on this 911 call is the same voice as the other calls, including into Lee’s show. Last week, Senator Saxby Chambliss asked the Attorney General to get the FBI to look into the matter. It’s clear the incident happened across state lines and as well that only the FBI has the technical resources to be able to trace the call.

More information: Townhall