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27 Dec, 2023 00:33

US Republican lawmakers ‘swatted’ on Christmas

Marjorie Taylor Greene and Brandon Williams have been targeted by callers to police falsely reporting shootings at their homes
US Republican lawmakers ‘swatted’ on Christmas

Two US House Republicans, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Brandon Williams, have been targeted by pranksters who falsely reported shootings at their homes on Christmas day, in an apparent attempts to trigger potentially violent altercations with police. The prank is known as ‘swatting.’

The calls were made on Monday as Greene and Williams were celebrating Christmas with their families at their homes in Georgia and New York, respectively. In both cases, the callers falsely claimed that there had been a shooting at the lawmaker’s home address. 

Greene said she has now been swatted eight times, and the FBI has been unable to track down the callers. “The FBI can do so many things, has even abused FISA to spy on hundreds of thousands of Americans, but cannot figure out who wants me killed by a hail of bullets fired by a SWAT team responding to murder-suicide calls supposedly coming from me,” the Congresswoman said. “Thankfully, my local police are far too smart, know me well, and know exactly what these swatting calls are.”

Police spokeswoman Kelly Madden told CNN that an unknown man had called the suicide prevention hotline, claiming that he'd shot his girlfriend at Greene’s address.

Williams said his home was swatted on Monday afternoon. “Thanks to the deputies and troopers who contacted me before arriving,” he said. “They left with homemade cookies and spiced nuts. Merry Christmas everyone!”

Swatting calls have led to multiple deaths in the US, such as an April 2020 case in which a Tennessee man was fatally shot by police responding to a false report. He had been targeted by a teenager who coveted his Twitter handle and was trying to extort him. A Kansas man was killed by police in 2017, after a 911 caller reported that he had shot his father and was holding his remaining family members hostage.

Former White House aide Steve Bannon was swatted last year, when heavily armed police stormed his home in response to a false report. He blamed Democrat President Joe Biden, whom he claimed had triggered such behavior by fomenting the hatred of his political enemies. “The White House is trying to use this type of violence. They’re stirring up unstable people on the far left to do this.” He added that political foes were essentially trying to get him and Greene “assassinated using law enforcement.”