Special Counsel Smith was reportedly targeted with dangerous false 'swatting' call to elicit an armed police response at his home

 January 11, 2024

Special Counsel Jack Smith was reportedly targeted last month with a dangerous tactic known as "swatting," in which law enforcement is directed to respond to a falsely reported emergency, often with guns drawn, at the target's location, according to NBC News.

The swatting attempt reportedly occurred on Christmas Day at Smith's Maryland residence and involved a fraudulent 911 caller who anonymously asserted that Smith had shot and killed his wife in their home.

However, as the Montgomery County police were dispatched in response to the call, they made contact with the U.S. Marshal's Service detail that protects the special counsel and were informed that everything was fine and the 911 call had been a false alarm.

Special Counsel Smith, Judge Chutkan targeted by swatting calls

Special Counsel Smith, of course, is leading two federal prosecutorial efforts against former President Donald Trump, the first for his alleged retention of classified government documents after leaving the White House and the second for his alleged efforts to interfere with and overturn the results of the 2020 election.

As of now, no arrests have been made in connection with the reported swatting attempt, and requests for comment on the incident have been declined by the special counsel's office, the U.S. Marshals, and the Montgomery County police.

This appears to be the latest, and arguably most serious, of a series of alleged death threats that have been aimed against Smith and other prosecutors in his office over the past year, and NBC News reported that, according to the Justice Department, more than $4.4 million was spent between April and September of 2023 on security for Smith and others in the special counsel's office.

Interestingly enough, ABC News reported that U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over Special Counsel Smith's election-related prosecution of former President Trump, was also recently the victim of an attempted swatting incident on Sunday.

Local police in Washington D.C. received a call of a shooting at the judge's home but quickly realized no such thing had occurred and everything was fine.

Swatting calls pose serious danger to officers and targets

In September 2022, the FBI issued a press release that warned about the "dangers of swatting," which it described as "a form of harassment to deceive an emergency service provider into sending a police and emergency service response team to another person’s address due to the false reporting of a serious law enforcement emergency."

"Traditionally, law enforcement has seen swatters directing their actions toward individuals and residences," the release continued. "Increasingly, the FBI sees swatters targeting public places such as airports, schools, and businesses. Another recent trend is so-called celebrity swatting, where the targeted victims are well-known personalities."

The FBI noted that swatting calls "are dangerous to first responders and to the victims" because the calls often allege serious crimes in progress that provoke an aggressive and rapid response from armed officers, who in addition to being pulled away from real emergencies are then "placed in danger as unsuspecting residents may try to defend themselves."

Republicans have also been targeted with swatting calls

Lest anyone suspect that swatting calls are a tactic of the political right, given the recent targeting of two high-profile anti-Trump figures, a CBS News report on those incidents also made mention of a few prominent Republican elected officials who have also been targeted with swatting calls, in some cases more than once.

That includes Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Brandon Williams (R-NY), as well as Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), but by no means are they alone in being conservative-leaning targets of the dangerous swatting tactic.

Incidents of death threats, harassment, and intimidation against public figures are bad enough, but the reporting of false emergencies to elicit an armed police response against oppositional targets goes above and beyond that, and, unfortunately, this dangerous trend will likely only continue to be increasingly used unless or until somebody ends up dead and there are real consequences for the fraudulent callers.

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