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The head of the government's election security agency was swatted in December

Judges and public officials have been the targets of a wave of swatting calls in the past few weeks.
Jen Easterly, Director of the Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, testifies during her confirmation hearing on June 10, 2021.
Jen Easterly, the director of the Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, testifies at her confirmation hearing on June 10, 2021.Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images file

The director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the top U.S. government agency tasked with providing security and aid to U.S. election infrastructure and its officials, was the target of a swatting incident at the end of December, a spokesperson confirmed to NBC News.

News of the incident comes as judges and public officials in the past few weeks have been the target of a wave of swatting calls, in which false emergencies are reported to local police departments in order to trigger an armed police response.

Election security has become a highly politicized issue. Jen Easterly, the head of CISA, has been a target for House Republicans who have criticized the agency’s attempts to promote information about how to vote and how the voting process works. The swatting call was first reported by the Record, a cybersecurity news website.

The Arlington County Police Department told NBC News it is investigating the swatting incident. The department said a 911 call came in just before 9 p.m. ET on Dec. 30 to report a shooting inside a residence. Officers made contact with a person at the residence and determined there was no shooting or injuries at the home, according to a police preliminary incident summary viewed by NBC News.

A CISA spokesperson confirmed the swatting call was to Easterly’s home address and that she was there alone at the time.

“One of the most troubling trends we have seen in recent years has been the harassment of public officials across the political spectrum, including extreme incidents involving swatting and direct personal threats,” Easterly said in a statement.

“These incidents pose a serious risk to the individuals, their families, and in the case of swatting, to the law enforcement officers responding to the situation. While my own experience was certainly harrowing, it was unfortunately not unique,” she said.

CISA largely escaped partisan harassment until soon after the 2020 election. In the wake of his election loss, then-President Donald Trump fired his CISA director, Christopher Krebs, over an agency website that fact-checked falsehoods about the election process, including some lies that Trump and his allies pushed to discredit that election.

Under Easterly’s leadership, CISA has retreated from some of its previous efforts to combat election mis- and disinformation.

It wasn’t immediately clear who was behind the call. Swatting calls can often be performed as an artificial intelligence-aided online service and can be difficult to trace.

Swatting calls have increased during the last few months, targeting public officials like U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkin, who is presiding over the Trump election interference case, and special counsel Jack Smith. Recently the White House was targeted, too, with a swatting call claiming there was a fire inside the building. Various state election officials have also been recently targeted.

On a virtual news briefing last week, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addressed the growing trend, saying the calls are “creating a danger and a risk to our society” and that the Secret Service is monitoring this type of activity.