When I heard about this apparent SWATting attempt at MIT, I wondered if it was retaliation for the university’s participation in the prosecution of Aaron Swartz:
On Saturday, February 23 at 7:28 am EST, the Cambridge (Massachusetts) Police Department met face-to-face with our nation’s growing nightmare. A call came in. A potential shooter loomed on the nearby MIT campus. Someone had a “really big gun” plus “armor” and was “getting out of control.”
An alert went through the department’s automated alert system immediately.
It appears my instinct was right:
This call lasted more than 18 minutes. One minute in, the dispatcher notified MIT Police and sent CPD units as well as State Police to the scene. Within two minutes, MIT police entered the potential shooter zone—Building 7—not too far away from the main quad, next door to many other campus buildings.
Five minutes in, the caller finally identified the alleged gunman by name. This pointed to a member of MIT’s own staff. And moments later, the caller revealed the gunman’s ultimate target: MIT President Rafael Reif. The caller elaborated. The alleged gunman was heading toward the administrative offices. It was all part of a larger plan: retaliation, according to MIT, against “the people involved in the suicide of Aaron Swartz.” Officers split up and traveled to the second location in order to ensure the safety of Reif. The building and surrounding area was placed on lock down at 7:43 am. The call hadn’t even finished.
SWATting shows no signs of abating.
With that thought in mind, please watch or tape Anderson Cooper’s show today on CNN. There is a planned segment on SWATting, and you will want to see it.