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Republicans, Democrats find common ground on increased threats and hoaxes

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Republicans, Democrats find common ground on increased threats and hoaxes

Georgia State Capitol. Photo by Dean Hesse.

By Jennifer Lifsey and Joshua Skinner, Atlanta News First

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) — The Georgia Capitol was one of numerous capitols that fell victim to an email hoax early Wednesday morning. The email said there were explosives hidden inside the building.

“Whoever is doing this is trying to spread some kind of chaos, and it’s going to backfire,” said Democrat State Sen. Josh. McLaurin.

The Georgia Department of Public Safety inspected the building, found no explosives, and determined the threat was not credible. The capitol reopened just before 9 a.m.

In response to the hoax, which victimized over a dozen states, the FBI released a statement saying:

The FBI is aware of the numerous hoax incidents wherein a bomb threat at a state Capitol building is made, including the Georgia State Capitol. The FBI takes hoax threats very seriously because it puts innocent people at risk. While we have no information to indicate a specific and credible threat, we will continue to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to gather, share, and act upon threat information as it comes to our attention. We urge the public to remain vigilant, and report any and all suspicious activity and/or individuals to law enforcement immediately.

The hoax comes as public officials in Georgia and around the country continue getting “swatted”, a practice where someone fakes an emergency call to an address to get SWAT to respond.

And while the identities of the perpetrators are not known, one of Georgia’s top election officials, Gabriel Sterling, says it’s an attempt to pull Americans apart.

“When these people do this, they want the left to blame the right and the right to blame the left, and further increase the divide and normalize potential violence moving forward. If they achieve that goal, they’ve won something today.”

But rather than drive people apart, the disruptions are uniting Republicans and Democrats.

“It’s pretty stupid to do it,” McLaurin said. “Because it just makes people like me in my position, and the people I work with every day across the aisle come together and try to find solutions.”

One of those solutions is preparation at all levels of government, especially as election season approaches.

“We’re going to have four different convenings around the state between local law enforcement and county elections officials, so they can prepare at the local level if anything like this happens,” Sterling said.

After his interview with Atlanta News First, Sterling posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that his home had been the latest victim of “swatting”.

Sterling also said public officials must be prepared in case the hoaxes turn violent.

Decaturish media partner Atlanta News First provided this story