Friday, June 15, 2012

Sen. Mitch McConnell Calls SWAT-ting "Criminal & Reprehensible" At AEI Speech On First Amendment

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky spoke today to the American Enterprise Institute about threats to the First Amendment from liberal groups and President Obama.

During his speech, the topic of SWAT-ting as a tactic used against political opponents came up. Sen. McConnell called SWAT-ting "criminal and reprehensible," and said (via AEI Twitter) that the goal of swatting is to "scare people who’ve dare to speak, write or otherwise support a cause that the swatters don’t like."

McConnell also said that "harassment and intimidation of private citizens wanting to participate in the political process is deplorable."

There is a link to this video of the entire speech via CSPAN (not embeddable). The SWAT-ting mention cames at 21.01 in the speech.  But the whole speech is worth watching.

SWAT-ting has been used against conservative bloggers Patrick Frey (aka Patterico) and just last month against Erick Erickson. Another person named Mike Stack was SWAT-ted around the same time as Frey around the time of the Michael Weiner scandal. In the past couple of weeks, news outlets like ABC, CNN and Fox News, have discussed this tactic, and Sen. Saxby Chambliss, as well as 87 House members, wrote letters asking Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate these SWAT-ting attacks on bloggers.

1 comment:

Rob Shattuck said...

On the matter of campaign finance, there are probably millions of voters who now agree with Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig that “Practically every important issue in American politics today is tied to this ‘one issue [campaign finance],’" and the overriding agenda (invoking Thoreau) should be to attack “the root, the thing that feeds the other ills, and the thing that we must kill first.”

It can be well hoped that McConnell's speech will help instigate a national and Congressional debate on the issue of campaign finance, including whether and to what extent the right of free speech should include the right to speak anonymously, the extent to which corporations (and other organizations) need to have a constitutionally protected right of free speech, and whether and the extent to which more rigorous truthfulness standards should be applicable to political speech (e.g. to political speech of corporations).