Glendon Swift of Tennessee Arrested for Threatening to ‘Destroy’ Eric Cantor
ABC News’ Pierre Thomas and John R. Parkinson report:
A Tennessee man is sitting in jail today for allegedly placing two threatening phone calls to the office of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor last week — “screaming, profanity-laden messages [that] allegedly stated that the caller was going to destroy Rep. Cantor, rape his daughter and kill his wife,” according to the FBI and the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Glendon Swift, 62, of Lenoir City, Tenn., was arrested late Wednesday for threatening the Virginia Republican and his family in two voicemails left at Cantor’s Glen Allen, Va., office the evening of Oct. 27.
A member of Cantor’s staff retrieved the messages and alerted the U.S. Capitol Police, which sought the assistance of the FBI to identify and locate the individual who made the calls.
“Threatening to harm the family of a public official is a very serious charge, and we are grateful to the FBI and their law enforcement partners for their quick action in this case,” said Neil H. MacBride, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Laena Fallon, a spokeswoman for Cantor, declined to comment on the threats, telling ABC News, “This is a law enforcement matter. We have no comment.”
The FBI identified Swift as the individual who subscribed to the phone number used to make the call. He was reportedly arrested without incident on Wednesday night by the FBI in Knoxville and the Lenoir City Police Department after allegedly admitting to law enforcement that he left the threatening messages.
Swift was charged by criminal complaint of threatening to assault or murder a member of the immediate family of a United States official, according to the FBI. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. Swift made his initial appearance before a U.S. magistrate judge in Knoxville, Tenn., earlier this afternoon.
The threat against Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House of Representatives, is just the latest case in a string of threats targeting public officials.
Two weeks ago, news broke that Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Ill., was specifically named in an Internet threat that called for the assassination of a number of public officials and offered a $75,000 reward.
“I will pay $75,000 for ASSASSINATING Illinois Congresswoman (sic) Bobby Schilling and any US Congressman, US Senator and FBI, CIA and NSA DIRECTORS and their FAMILY MEMBERS regardless of their age,” the threat read.
The FBI is still investigating that threat and has made no arrests.