A victorious 17-year-old Internet gamer from Long Beach, N.Y., is the latest victim of “SWAT-ting,” a prank in which a false criminal report is made on an innocent person that prompts police to dispatch SWAT teams.
It’s a tactic a WND columnist said was being used by left-leaning activists to “threaten the lives of conservative pundits.”
In June 2012, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., demanded Attorney General Eric Holder investigate the activity.
“These dangerous hoaxes, also known as ‘SWAT-ting,’ occur when a perpetrator contacts local police to report a violent incident at a target’s home,” Chambliss explained then. “These callers are believed to utilize voice-over IP (VOIP) and other less-traditional telecommunications methods to make the call appear to come from the target residence and to hide the caller’s true identity. … Targets only learn of these false reports when a large police presence descends upon their homes.”
WABC-TV in New York City reported Wednesday that was exactly the scenario in New York.
The report said the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department started investigating after a hoax that sent SWAT teams to a Long Island home.
“At one point, every police officer on duty in the city of Long Beach was on the scene, along with heavily armed Nassau County SWAT teams and hostage negotiators,” the report said. “It ended nearly two hours later, only after a teenager took off his headphones and got up from his computer screen, and realized his home was surrounded.”
The report said the teen had been playing the computer game “Call of Duty.” Police theorized that one of his anonymous online opponents called police to report an “armed man barricaded with possible victims inside.”
Long Beach Police Chief Michael Tangney told reporters: “When they’re playing video games, if they lose during the game they try to get information on their opponents. If they do get the information, they call the police and identify themselves as that person and say that they killed somebody so that the police get this response.”
In his 2012 WND column, Phil Elmore said the “political left in the United States has long used a variety of lies, intimidation tactics and other intellectually dishonest means to quell debate and silence dissent,” including “SWAT-ting.”
“To ‘SWAT’ someone is obviously to cause them a great deal of unnecessary hassle, but what few have stated outright is that it is nothing less than an attempt to murder your target,” he wrote.
Elmore said “SWAT-ting” attack targets have included columnists and bloggers such as Michelle Malkin, Robert Stacy McCain, Aaron Walker and Mandy Nagy. An earlier report said a “prankster” had “SWAT-ed” movie star Clint Eastwood. And Wolf Blitzer also was targeted.
But SWAT teams also have done themselves no good in a number of instances.
Only months ago, a Florida woman reported a SWAT team ordered her out of her own home and took it over in a standoff with a neighbor.
Other SWAT raids have been conducted over the sale of unpasteurized milk, to enforce a police demand in Henderson, Nev., to use a man’s home against his wishes for a raid against a neighbor, against a homeschooling mother in New Jersey who was arrested for quoting the Constitution at a tax protest and to rip a Sacramento, Calif., couple’s infant son from their arms because they wanted a second opinion for his medical care.