Republican pres. candidate Nikki Haley targeted in swatting at US home

Authorities responded to a fake emergency at the South Carolina home of Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley last month after a man claimed to have shot a woman and threatened to harm himself at her home, according to town records obtained by Reuters.

The previously unreported “swatting” incident is among a wave of violent threats, bomb scares, and other acts of intimidation against government officials, members of the judiciary, and election administrators since the 2020 election that have alarmed law enforcement ahead of this year’s US presidential contest.

Swatting cases have surged over the past two months, targeting both allies and rivals of former President Donald Trump as he campaigns to return to the White House. The targets include figures who have publicly opposed Trump, such as Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat who barred him from her state’s primary ballot. Judges and at least one prosecutor handling cases against Trump have been targeted. But Trump backers such as US Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene have also faced swatting attempts.

The hoax against Haley, who is challenging frontrunner Trump for the Republican presidential nomination, occurred on December 30 in the town of Kiawah Island, an affluent, gated community of around 2,000 people.

Haley’s campaign declined to comment.

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL candidate Nikki Haley attends a town hall in South Carolina, this week. She has given millions of Americans good reason to cast their votes for Joe Biden and Democrats up and down the ballot in 2024, the writer maintains. (credit: REUTERS/SAM WOLFE)

A ‘SWAT’ attempt on Nikki Haley

An unknown person called 911 and “claimed to have shot his girlfriend and threatened to harm himself while at the residence of Nikki Haley,” Craig Harris, Kiawah Island director of public safety, told town officials on Dec. 30, according to an email Reuters obtained in a records request for threats to Haley’s home. “It was determined to be a hoax … Nikki Haley is not on the island and her son is with her.”

In the email, Harris said he was in contact with South Carolina’s state police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the head of Haley’s security team. “This incident is being investigated by all involved,” he wrote. The email did not mention a suspect or potential motive. In a separate email obtained by Reuters, an FBI official in South Carolina told Harris and other law enforcement officials that federal agents were tracking the hoax call and intended to open a “threat assessment” into the matter.

Harris, the FBI, and the state police had no immediate comment on the incident. Law enforcement agencies have not publicly identified a suspect in the Haley case or other high-profile swatting cases.

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