For the second night in a row, armed police showed up at the Rome house of Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene Thursday after an anonymous caller made a false report of a dangerous situation.
According to a Rome Police Department report, officers were contacted shortly before 3 a.m. from an internet suicide prevention chat about a man who “came out as transgender and claimed they shot the family” at Greene’s address. According to police, the person who made the threat identified himself as “Wayne Greene” and warned that he was prepared to shoot people who came to the address.
Officers fielded a similar call the night before. In both cases, the police spoke with Greene and determined that nothing was wrong.
Police said the suicide chat could not trace the person who made the false report because they used software to hide their location.
In a statement, the Rome Police Department said its criminal investigation division is working with the U.S. Capitol Police Department to solve the crime.
“Swatting,” or summoning armed police to a victim’s home in an attempt to frighten them, has become a common tactic for internet bullies.
“These are not prank calls,” said Michael Owens, a cybersecurity advisor and consultant who serves with the U.S. Marine Corps Cyber Auxiliary. “They’re very malicious activity that’s being done, specifically to invoke the type of response, where, unfortunately, people have gotten killed. So I don’t view these as prank calls. These are targeted attacks against people, more and more, they’ve become targeted attacks on elected officials, people in the political realm, which obviously, is not something that we want.”
Swatting is not new, but it’s hard to pinpoint just how common it is because they may be reported in crime statistics as false alarms, said Owens, who ran as a Democrat for secretary of state in this year’s primary election. And as cybercrimes go, swatting is inexpensive and easy to do.
“You look at different smartphone apps or online services, many of these allow you to mask the caller’s location or identity, and unfortunately for emergency response technicians, they have to be able to take these types of calls seriously. That is their job. That’s what they need to do,” Owens said. “So given those facts, it’s really hard to combat these situations. And on the backside of that is the penalty for this. If someone gets killed or something really bad happens, and you can track the person down, then there’s usually pretty stiff penalties.”
A California man was sentenced to 20 years in 2019 after pleading guilty in a swatting case in which a 28-year-old man was shot and killed by police.
Earlier this year, Kentucky passed a law implementing stiffer punishments for those caught swatting.
In an interview with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon on his program “Steve Bannon’s War Room,” Greene blamed the threats on her political enemies.
“Is the left trying to have you assassinated, ma’am?” Bannon asked.
“Yes. They are trying to have me murdered. They are trying to get me killed,” Greene said. “And sometimes, they’re trying to kill me themselves with their own death threats, and they’re being arrested for trying to do that. Steve, last night, I was swatted for a second time, a second time, two nights in a row, it’s happened to me, but I just want to give massive credit, shout out to Rome Police. They are not stupid.”
In an email to supporters sent after the first attempted swat, Greene said she fears what could have happened had the police not been as prepared as they were.
“Thankfully, the local police Department didn’t fall for it and the attack on my life was thwarted,” she wrote. “But that shows how desperate the Left is in their efforts to get me out of Congress. They’re willing to see me killed to stop me from investigating Hunter Biden and impeaching the Big Guy.”
“I WON’T BE INTIMIDATED!” Greene added. “But continuing to campaign with a price on my head means I need you to chip in $25, $50, or $100 to help as I must bear the additional costs to ensure the safety of my family and me as I continue my efforts to expose the radical left and their attempts to destroy our nation!”
An anonymous person claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s swatting and said they did it because of Greene’s anti-transgender beliefs. The caller also claimed an association with Kiwi Farms, a cyberbullying forum whose targets include transgender people.
In an interview on Newsmax, Greene called for the website to be censored.
“Isn’t it concerning that such a website exists? Why does that even exist?” she asked. “That website needs to be taken down. There should be no business or any kind of service where you can target your enemy, that’s absolutely absurd, and this is the type of lawlessness that Democrats want all over the country.”
The Kiwi forum’s operator released a statement Thursday denying any part in the attacks.
“I can handle men in drag screaming about us. I am not sure I can handle this,” the statement reads. “There is a person – or group of people – committing serious felonies almost every day using sophisticated masks in an effort to draw fire on us. I can’t stop it, the Government can’t stop it, and the victims don’t care about the truth. The Twitter mob will take any problem and opportunistically use it against us. Congresswoman Greene did not take one second to think about threats attributed to the forum before accepting them as true and demanding we be shut down by force of law on television.”
This story is available through a news partnership with Georgia Recorder.