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28 Jan, 2024 12:05

Trump rival targeted in ‘swatting’ incident – Reuters

Police received a report last month that a man had killed his partner in the home of a US Republican presidential candidate
Trump rival targeted in ‘swatting’ incident – Reuters

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley was the victim of a so-called ‘swatting’ incident last month, Reuters has reported, citing public records.

Authorities received a report on December 30 in which a man who claimed to have shot his girlfriend to death and threatened to harm himself gave Haley’s home address to the emergency operator. It was subsequently confirmed to have been a fake report, the Reuters news agency said on Saturday, citing records of the incident.

‘Swatting’ is the colloquial term used to describe incidents in which emergency services are contacted to regarding a fake crime, often with the intention of being a nuisance to the responding agency. It is, according to Reuters, increasingly being used to target opponents of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, including officials involved in the myriad criminal cases the former US president faces.

“The incident is being investigated by all involved,” Craig Harris, director of public safety at Kiawah Island, close to Haley’s residence, reportedly told town officials last month. “It was determined to be a hoax,” Harris said, adding that neither Haley nor her family were at home at the time of the call.

Neither Haley nor her representatives have yet commented publicly on the report, though Harris said that the FBI and Haley’s security team have been made aware of the incident.

A spokesperson for the FBI declined a Reuters request for comment on the specific situation involving Haley but said, “When the threats are made as a hoax, it puts innocent people at risk, is a waste of law enforcement’s limited resources, and costs taxpayers.”

Earlier in January, Jack Smith, the special counsel overseeing the federal case into Trump’s alleged attempts to overturn the result of the 2020 US presidential election, was a swatting target – as was Washington, DC District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, also involved in the case.

Similarly, Shenna Bellows, the Maine secretary of state who barred Trump from the state’s primary ballot, was also a swatting victim. Trump supporters, such as US Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, have also been the victim of swatting attempts.

According to the polling aggregator FiveThirtyEight, Trump currently holds a commanding lead over Haley in the race to secure the Republican nomination ahead of November’s presidential election.