In efforts to intimidate and suppress the speech of prominent conservative bloggers, opponents are implementing a decade-old technique called “SWAT-ing,” which involves prank callers phoning law-enforcement authorities and reporting a violent crime at someone’s home. The pranksters generally camouflage their actual phone numbers — by making them appear to originate from the victim’s home — leading SWAT teams to be dispatched to a person’s residence.
Beginning last July, several renowned conservative bloggers have been reporting incidences where prank calls led SWAT teams to their doorsteps. Around since the early 2000s, SWAT-ing is oftentimes revenge-motivated, affirmed FBI agent Kevin Kolbye, who has been involved in probing such cases. “They’re usually retaliatory in nature to harass or terrorize the intended party. It’s really kind of similar to the old hoax bomb threat,” he explained. “But in a SWAT-ing, you’re masking or hiding the ... phone number and causing a SWAT response by stating that they’ve murdered someone in the house or they have hostages in the house.”
“There’s been hundreds of SWAT-ing instances where SWAT teams have come up to innocent third parties,” he added. “It’s putting innocent people at risk. It’s just a matter of time [before] we believe someone could get hurt.”
Patrick Frey, an L.A. County deputy district attorney and blogger at his website Patterico’s Pontifications, described his harrowing SWAT-ing experience that took place in the middle of the night on July 1, 2011.
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