Maloney: Swatting is an Act of Domestic Terrorism
Newburgh, NY – Following reports of more than 13 swatting incidents at the Middletown Enlarged City School District, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) announced federal steps to combat “swatting” in schools. Rep. Maloney’s Stop Swatting in Our Schools (SSOS) Act would designate “swatting” as a form of domestic terrorism and create an FBI task force to combat swatting that would coordinate directly with Joint Terrorism Task Forces.
“Students, parents and families in Middletown are being terrorized by swatters targeting our kids, so we should call these criminals what they are – domestic terrorists. I want to put the full force of the FBI behind the investigation and identification of these perpetrators and by creating a specialized swatting task force, and officially designating these crimes as acts of domestic terrorism, we can take a huge step forward to stop swatting in our schools,” said Rep. Maloney.
“I want to thank Congressman Maloney for standing up with our community to fight this action of domestic terrorism that has been plaguing our local school district,” said Town of Wallkill Supervisor Dan Depew.
Since June 2015, Middletown Enlarged City School District has reported at least 13 incidents of “swatting”. In many instances the perpetrators use services designed to mask their phone number, making it difficult to identify the culprit. Earlier this month, Rep. Maloney joined Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to call on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to issue a waiver to the Middletown Enlarged City School District to identify the calling party number used for “swatting”. Earlier this week, the FCC announced they are seeking a public comment period for the petition for the waiver.
Instances of “swatting” have become more widespread over the past several years with the FBI estimating approximately 400 such attacks occurring every year in the U.S. While the FBI has been able to provide technical assistance to local law enforcement agencies that are currently under siege from swatting attacks, the creation of a task force focused specifically on investigating and prosecuting individuals engaged in this dangerous activity will help communities who are currently being terrorized by perpetrators.