This is a very dangerous game some people are playing.
The recent incidents of “swatting” targeting two Republican Congress members on Christmas Day have drawn attention to the challenges faced by federal law enforcement. Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene revealed that her residence in Rome, Georgia, was subjected to a swatting incident during the holiday celebration. Similarly, New York Congressman Brandon Williams reported that his house in Cayuga County, New York, was also targeted.
Swatting involves making false reports of crimes to prompt law enforcement responses to an individual’s address. For Greene, this marked the eighth such incident targeting her home. In Greene’s case, a person from a different Rome (in upstate New York) falsely reported a shooting, prompting law enforcement to contact Greene’s security team, which determined that no police response was necessary.
In Williams’ case, Cayuga County Sheriff Brian Schenck confirmed that officers responded to a false report of a confessed shooting at the congressman’s residence. The Cayuga County Sheriff’s Department is currently investigating the source of the false report.
Criticism has been directed at the FBI in light of these swatting incidents. Greene, who has been targeted multiple times before, expressed frustration with federal law enforcement’s inability to identify the perpetrators. Users on social media platform X joined in the criticism, with some suggesting a perceived bias in the FBI’s actions.
In response to these incidents, Greene announced her intention to introduce legislation aimed at addressing and tracking down swatters. She also highlighted a recent death threat her office received, criticizing federal law enforcement for their response and drawing comparisons to the handling of cases related to the U.S. Capitol attack on January 6, 2021.
Prosecution for swatting varies across states, with Georgia and New York treating false reports to law enforcement as misdemeanors. In New York, there have been efforts, such as a bill introduced by State Assemblyman Scott Gray, to elevate swatting to a class E felony.