U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss has asked the Justice Department to investigate a string of anonymous pranks in which authorities have been dispatched guns ablaze to the homes of conservative commentators after bogus shooting claims.
In a letter Wednesday to Attorney General Eric Holder, Chambliss said the practice of “SWAT-ting”–which struck the family of Georgian Erick Erickson last month–is a tool by which radicals are squelching the First Amendment.
“The use of SWAT-ting as a harassment tool is apparently not new, but its use as a tool for targeting political speech appears to be a more recent development,” he wrote, according to a press release from the senator’s office. “During the last year, some of the more widely reported cases of SWAT-ting have taken place against blog operators across the country, including in Georgia. The emerging pattern is both disturbing and dangerous.”
“While I am certain that local law enforcement is reviewing each of these instances, I am asking you to please look into these cases as well to determine if any federal laws may have been violated,” the letter closes, demanding a response from Holder by no later than June 29.
- James Richardson