On the heels of last week’s swatting attempt on CNN Contributor and RedState managing editor Erick Erickson, I decided to host a podcast to discuss the incident. I invited guest Patrick Frey, who blogs as Patterico, to offer insight into his own swatting – a June 2011 experience about which Frey has detailed extensively at his own blog in recent days, as the story of a prolonged harassment campaign against bloggers has exploded in the blogosphere.
What followed was shocking.
Partway into the program, at about 49:28, a caller with an unidentified phone number greeted the two, and then claimed to be the swatter from Frey’s June 2011 incident.
CALLER: It’s me. Hey Pat, you remember me, buddy? It’s me that swatted you, buddy. How about I punk you one more time for old times’ sake, huh? (laughter) You still there, buddy?
STRANAHAN: Yeah, we’re here. Now why are you saying…now give us some proof that you’re the person who swatted Pat. (silence) And, they’ve gone.
A stunned Patrick Frey commented that the call was “pretty spooky,” and that he felt like this was “a bad movie.” The show then continued on. (Note: the other caller you hear in this segment was blogger Big Fur Hat, who had called in immediately prior to this).
But minutes later, the brazen caller returned, at about 65:40.
CALLER: Hey, Pat, buddy, what is this, Lee? Alright. You wingnuts make me laugh. This is all so funny. I mean, Michelle with her cousin still missing, for what, her cousin offs herself, that’s so funny, I still laugh about that. Hey Pat, how’d that feel when you got swatted that night? I was watching from outside, buddy, that was kinda funny, watching your ass go out in handcuffs. (laughter)
LIBERTY CHICK: Your voice sounds kind of funny.
STRANAHAN: Your voice sounds funny, you’re talking a little too fast.
CALLER: Oh, I’m sorry, am I speaking too fast for you, buddy?
STRANAHAN: Try it slow. Do the whole ‘I shot my’…do what you said on the call. Repeat what you said on the call.
CALLER: What call? I don’t know what you’re talking about, buddy. I thought you invited me to talk some serious things here. Or are we not?
STRANAHAN: You sound like Sean Penn as ‘Spicoli’ (reference to a character in the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High), that’s what you sound like. But if you could slow it down a little bit, what did you sound like on the call?
CALLER: I don’t know, buddy.
FREY: Well, well, tell us why you did it. If you’re the guy, tell us why you did it.
(Caller hangs up).
The “Michelle” to whom the caller had so callously referred was presumably Michelle Malkin, who tragically had a cousin go missing in March of 2011. I had mentioned Michelle’s heroic efforts in getting the story out about “Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day,” and Michelle had been tweeting about the podcast moments earlier.
It’s interesting to note that I scheduled this podcast spontaneously, in response to the Erick Erickson incident. I announced the program on Twitter only six minutes prior to its start. Given that the caller knew about the show, and that he made a point of mentioning Malkin , one would assume that it was an individual who was monitoring the tweets of some or all of these bloggers.
The calls into the show prompted listeners to visit Patterico’s blog, where he’d posted recordings of the swatting calls from 2011 that were performed on him in California and on Mike Stack, another victim, in New Jersey.
Is it at all possible that the same caller to the show was also Erick Erickson’s attempted swatting caller? We can’t possibly know yet. But for Erickson’s sake, hopefully law enforcement – and the media – will be more responsive to his incident than they’ve been to those of other recently victimized bloggers.
Lastly, while many may try to draw immediate conclusions from tonight’s podcast and from Erickson’s incident, I’ll remind readers thatsocial engineering is a key tactic in the prolonged harassment campaign against many of these bloggers. Often times, the perpetrators seemingly engineer situations in order to create the appearance of or distract from something else.
credit : Liberty Chick