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Republicans Demand Probe of Reported Attacks on Conservative Bloggers
Posted By Elizabeth Murphy On June 11, 2012 @ 3:18 pm In News | Comments Disabled
More than 80 House Republicans are coming to the aid of conservative bloggers who they say are under attack by people who missed the “sticks and stones” lesson in elementary school.
Last week, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) brought the issue to the attention of Attorney General Eric Holder in letters demanding an investigation of the recent spate of so-called “SWAT-ing” attacks on conservative political commenters. The 85 lawmakers sent a similar letter to Holder today.
“The perpetrators appear to be targeting individuals who are vigorously exercising their First Amendment rights to political speech,” Chambliss wrote  to the attorney general. “As you know, these reported efforts to intimidate those who choose to enter the political forum and express their opinions are in conflict with the founding principles of our nation.”
Chambliss and the House Republicans have called on the Justice Department to investigate whether any federal laws are violated in “SWAT-ing” attacks. The tactic involves a prank caller phoning the victim’s local police department to report a violent incident at the target’s house. Often times, the police department will send a tactical unit, or SWAT team, to handle the matter, which all involved eventually learn is just a hoax.
“While none of the SWAT-ting victims have incurred physical harm from these hate filled ploys, we are gravely concerned that future victims may not find themselves so lucky,” the lawmakers wrote. “Plus, when law enforcement officers are responding to SWAT-ting claims, resources are diverted from those truly in need — all of this because of differences in political ideology.”
Erick Erickson, chief editor of popular conservative politics blog Red State , said he and his family were “SWAT-ed” last month. Police were called to his home by an anonymous caller saying that Erickson had shot his wife, he said. Patrick Frey, a conservative blogger and a Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney, recalled  police pounding on his door one early morning last July because, he writes, of a hoax phone call.
“These hoaxes are clearly intended to silence speech and rational political discourse and incite fear amongst those associated with a targeted blogger,” Marchant wrote  to Holder last Thursday. “These incidents also spread local law enforcement resources thinly… No one should be subjected to this treatment and I will not allow SWAT-tings to go unaddressed by the Justice Department.”
Former Voting Rights Section lawyer J. Christian Adams took to Twitter to air his grievances. ”Eric Holder or an ethical US Attorney could stop this swatting in 48 hours. Violates 18 USC 241. Online efforts should be directed at #DOJ,” Adams wrote  last week.
Adams, a conservative activist, has been fiery critic  of Holder since his dramatic departure from the Justice Department two years ago. He now blogs for the Pajamas Media network of conservative blogs
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