Entries in Conservative (5)


Senator Asks DOJ to Investigate SWAT-ting Attacks on Conservative Bloggers

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A number of conservative bloggers allege they have been targeted through the use of harassment tactics such as SWAT-ting (fooling 911 operators into sending emergency teams to their homes), in retaliation for posts they have written, and now Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., has stepped into the matter. He has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to investigate the SWAT-ting cases to see if federal laws have been violated.

“I am writing with concern regarding recent reports that several members of the community of online political commentators have been targeted with harassing and frightening actions. Any potentially criminal action that incites fear, seeks to silence a dissenting opinion, and collaterally wastes the resources of law enforcement should be given close scrutiny at all levels,” Chambliss wrote in the letter.

“Regardless of any potential political differences that may exist, threats and intimidation have no place in our national political discourse. Those who choose to enter into that political discourse should not have to worry about potential threats to their or their family’s safety,” Chambliss continued.  “While I am certain that local law enforcement is reviewing each of these instances, I am asking you to please look into each of these cases as well to determine if any federal laws may have been violated. Future targets of SWAT-ting, whether engaged in political speech or not, may not be so fortunate as to escape physical harm.”

ABC News spoke with two prominent conservative bloggers who were victims of SWAT-ting, a hoax tactic used by some hackers to infiltrate a victim’s phone system, often through voice over IP (VOIP) technology to make calls appear as if they are coming from a residence. The perpetrators call police to report a violent crime at that home to which the police respond, sometimes with SWAT teams.

Just after midnight on July 1, 2011, Patrick Frey, a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles and a conservative blogger who writes under the name “Patterico,” heard a pounding at his door as sheriff’s deputies arrived to investigate a call from Frey’s home about a man who claimed he had killed his wife. But no one in Frey’s home had been killed, and no one had made a phone call to the police.

“It’s a phone call that could have gotten me killed,” Frey wrote on his blog about the incident.

Frey was cuffed by police while they woke up his wife, who was asleep in their room, and questioned her about the safety of the children.  Helicopters swarmed overhead with searchlights as the sheriff’s deputies investigated.

Frey told ABC News he received email threats prior to the SWAT-ting incident.

Late last month, Erick Erickson, the editor of the conservative site, was the victim of the same type of targeting. He had written about Frey’s case just a few days before.

Erickson sat at home in Macon, Ga., with his family while his children played outside over Memorial Day weekend when two sheriff’s deputies drove to the house after receiving a phone call about Erickson allegedly shooting his wife.

“My first thought was, ‘What have the kids done?’” Erickson said after seeing the police car outside his home.  “The police officer approached me in the driveway and said it was a call about an accidental shooting.  According to the 911 call, the person claimed I had killed my wife.”

Erickson, who said he has received other types of threats in the past, had alerted the sheriff’s department after Frey’s experience in case he became the victim of a similar occurrence.

The Bibb County District Attorney’s office in Georgia currently is investigating the case and could not offer comment on it.  Asked who he suspected was responsible for the phone call to police, Erickson declined to speculate.

But several conservative bloggers have been vocal about who they believe is responsible for the SWAT-tings and other forms of harassment  -- Brett Kimberlin, a man who was convicted of a series of bombings in Speedway, Ind., in the 1980s and made headlines in 1988 when he claimed to have once sold marijuana to then-vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle.

The group of conservative bloggers organized “Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day” on May 25, during which they urged the blogging community to write about the actions of Kimberlin.

Kimberlin, who is now the director of a non-profit organization called Justice Through Music, told ABC News that he did not commit or ask anyone to conduct the SWAT-ting hoaxes that were perpetrated against Erickson and Frey.

“Of course not, it’s ridiculous.  It’s totally irresponsible for them to even say this,” Kimberlin told ABC News.  “There is no truth to anything about the SWAT-ting.”

But some conservative bloggers contend Kimberlin and his associates are responsible for other forms of harassment as well.  Robert Stacy McCain, a contributor to the American Spectator and founder of The Other McCain Blog, wrote about Kimberlin, and shortly after, his wife’s place of employment received a phone call from Kimberlin accusing McCain of harassment.  Based on Kimberlin’s ability to find his wife’s employer, McCain became concerned Kimberlin also knew the location of his home, so the McCain family relocated to an undisclosed location.

Ali Akbar, the president of the National Blogger’s Club, an organization established to support bloggers, recently was targeted by an anonymous website which posted the address of his mother’s home in Forth Worth, Texas, along with a picture of the house. Akbar and other bloggers believe the website, “Breitbart Unmasked,” is linked to Kimberlin.

The National Blogger’s Club recently started a relief fund to help ease the financial woes of bloggers who are undergoing lawsuits, including one lawsuit by Kimberlin against blogger Aaron Walker, and Akbar believes the anonymous post of his mother’s home address was a response to the creation of this fund. Akbar and his mother are cooperating with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office regarding the incident.

Kimberlin denied he was responsible for the post, even saying that he does not maintain any online presence and said he and his family have been victims of threats themselves and accused the bloggers of constructing a “false narrative” about him.

“I don’t blog, I don’t comment, I don’t tweet on any blogs at all.  This is a right-wing attack on me and my organizations and it’s a smear job. It’s a swift boat action against us,” Kimberlin said. “What they’re doing is an obstruction of justice and it’s defamatory.  We’re cooperating with the authorities in this matter.  They have engaged in a massive smear campaign against us that has resulted in death threats to me and my family and to others associated with us.”

The FBI has investigated a number of SWAT-ting incidents in the past.  In 2009, Carlton Nalley was sentenced to nine years in federal prison after pleading guilty to offenses related to a SWAT-ting conspiracy in Fort Worth, Texas.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Club for Growth President on Trump: ‘Not Pro-Growth, Not Conservative’

Bill Clark/Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Donald Trump’s move in the direction of a presidential candidacy has provoked a sharp reaction from elements inside the Republican Party, with the real-estate magnate and reality-show star prompting growing concern from conservatives.

On ABC’s Top Line Tuesday, Chris Chocola, president of the fiscal conservative group Club for Growth, told ABC News it’s time for some clear thinking about a potential candidate whose positions aren’t that well understood by Republicans.

“He's a great showman. But I think we got to push back the curtain and look and see what's behind it,” said Chocola, a former GOP congressman from Indiana. “And if you look, he's not pro-growth, he's not conservative.”

“He's a rabid protectionist -- wants to start a trade war with China. And so all these things I think should give us great concern and we just think if you want to engage in a candidacy, you have to engage in the debate of policy and ideas. And we think educated voters are good voters. And so before we get further into the show, we think people ought to understand what's behind the curtain.”

Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that Chocola is “not a very smart man” if he’s suggested his policies would harm the economy.

Chocola responded that he’s not bothered by such criticism.

“We are trying to get beyond the personalities and we're trying to get to the policies,” he said. “If anybody believes his own press, it's probably Donald Trump, and he gets a lot of it. And so we're becoming increasingly of the mind that he is going to run. And we think people ought to know more about him and his policy positions before they start to make commitments and they start to make up their minds in who they want to support.”

Chocola also told ABC News that the Club for Growth is considering getting involved in primaries against incumbent Republican senators in Utah, Maine, and his own home state of Indiana. He said of Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., that “it would be probably best if he would retire at this point.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Palin: Big Gov't, Overspending Has US On 'Road to National Ruin'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) -- Sarah Palin said Friday night that the U.S. has veered too far from the values of President Ronald Reagan and warned that government overspending will lead to “decline and defeat.”

Speaking at an event to celebrate Reagan’s 100th birthday, Palin launched a broad attack on big government and increased federal spending.

“This is not the road to national greatness, it is the road to national ruin,” Palin said at the event sponsored by the conservative Young Americas Foundation in Santa Barbara, Calif. “American exceptionalism is not exceptionally big government.”

Instead, the former Alaska governor urged Americans to “reconnect” with the principles of limited government promoted by Reagan. “Those values will lead us back to prosperity,” she said.

“Unlike others, Reagan seemed to be able to look out over the horizon and see what unsound policies, policies of big government expansionism…where that would ultimately end, and that was in decline and defeat,” she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


CPAC Conference in Controversy Over Gay Conservative Group

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- By all indications, this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, which is expected to draw more than 10,000 activists to Washington, D.C. later this month, will be as popular as ever.

From speakers like Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to panels on "How Political Correctness is Harming America's Military" and "Reagan at 100: Role Model for the Next Generation," the agenda for the three-day gathering is chock full of personalities and events designed to fire up the conservative base.

But not everybody is pleased. Prominent elected officials, including Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, as well as several powerful right-leaning groups such as the Family Research Council, the Heritage Foundation, Concerned Women for America, the Media Research Center and others plan to boycott this year's conference in protest of the involvement of the gay conservative group, GOProud.

GOProud, founded in 2009, bills itself as a group that advocates for a "traditional conservative agenda that emphasizes limited government, individual liberty, free markets and a confident foreign policy." But critics say its other mission -- supporting gay rights -- should disqualify it from co-sponsoring CPAC.

The American Principles Project, a non-profit group dedicated to promoting constitutional principles, was among the first to build momentum for a CPAC boycott. Executive director Andy Blom told ABC News that the reason his group pulled out of the conference this year was because his members regard the "sanctity of marriage as every bit as important as keeping taxes low."

Blom said, GOProud is "actively working against one of the most basic tenets of conservatism," and from his perspective, "that just isn't acceptable."

Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud, disagrees. "If you look at who will be at CPAC," he said, "there are organizations across the spectrum in the conservative movement."

"Our country over the past 20 years or so, is talking about gay people in a different way," LaSalvia told ABC News, "and conservatives aren't any different than any other Americans."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Virginia Thomas Denies Reports She's Leaving Liberty Central

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- A spokesperson for Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, denies published reports that Thomas is planning to leave or change her role at Liberty Central, a conservative political group she co-founded in part to energize Tea Party activists.

Sarah Field, the chief operating officer of Liberty Central, said in a statement that a Washington Post story suggesting the group would merge with the conservative Patrick Henry Center and that Thomas would step aside is "inaccurate."  However, Fields left open the possibility that Thomas may indeed change her role in the future.

"Precisely because of Liberty Central’s effectiveness, many of these opportunities did present themselves to us and they are still in the discussion stages," Field wrote.

Thomas came under fire a few weeks ago for an article on Liberty Central’s website originally attributed to her that suggested the recently passed health care legislation was unconstitutional. Critics of Thomas suggested that given her comments, her husband might need to recuse himself from the issue if it were to come before the court.

Liberty Central released a statement at the time saying it "assiduously avoids” taking positions on the "constitutionality" of issues.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio