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Tag: conspiracy theories

Sen. Cruz Spreads Baseless Conspiracy Theory about FBI Inciting Jan. 6 Riot

Sen. Ted Cruz

By Steve Neavling

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is spreading conspiracy theories that falsely claim the FBI incited the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. 

Despite no evidence that the FBI encouraged supporters of President Donald Trump to assault officers and break through police lines to enter the Capitol, Cruz, a Texas Republican, is recklessly peddling the conspiracy theory, The Dallas Morning News reports.

FBI Director Christopher Wray and another top bureau officials have testified that federal agents did not incite violence. 

Still, Cruz is spreading lies about the FBI in campaign emails and on social media and his podcast.  

Cruz was among a number of Republicans who tried to reject certification of Joe Biden’s victory. 

Trump Conspiracy Theory Could Fuel Violence, Homeland Security Warns

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling

Homeland Security officials are worried that the conspiracy theory claiming Donald Trump will be reinstated as president could fuel violence. 

John Cohen, the agency’s top counterterrorism official, discussed the concerns with members of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, POLITICO reports.

Cohen told members of Congress that the agency is monitoring extremist communities on social media.   

Among the concerns is that the conspiracy theory falsely suggests the election was rigged. 

The conspiracy theory has been promoted by Mike Lindell, the pillow magnate and Trump devotee. Reporters for The New York Times and National Review also indicated Trump believed the conspiracy theory.

After the POLITICO story was published, a DHS spokesperson said, “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is focused on the nexus between violence and extremist ideologies, as well as hateful and false narratives. DHS is enhancing its ability to prevent acts of violence inspired by disinformation, conspiracy theories, and extremist narratives spread through social media and other online platforms.”

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Baselessly Claims FBI Orchestrated Jan. 6 Riots

Alex Gakos/Shutterstock.com

By Steve Neavling

Fox News host Tucker Carlson has become the latest conservative voice to peddle a baseless conspiracy theory that the FBI orchestrated the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. 

Carlson’s rant last week was based on a report by Revolver News, which is run by Darren Beattie, a former Trump White House speech writer who was terminated in 2018 for appearing on a panel with a white nationalist.

Carlson told nearly 3 million viewers that it appeared “the FBI was organizing the riots of Jan. 6.”

He cited no evidence and doubled down Friday, suggesting that unindicted co-conspirators were government agents. 

Carlson’s false narrative received searing fact-checks in the media, including in The Washington Post, which cited legal experts who pointed out that the FBI “cannot name an undercover agent as an unindicted co-conspirator.”

FBI, Homeland Security Warn of Potential Plot to Seize Control of Capitol Today

U.S. Capitol

By Steve Neavling

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security warned that domestic extremists “discussed plans to take control of the U.S. Capitol and remove Democratic lawmakers on or about March 4,” the date that far-right conspiracy theorists believe former President Trump will be sworn in for a second term. 

The agencies sent a joint intelligence bulletin, titled “National Capitol Region Remains Attractive Target for Domestic Violent Extremists,” to local and state law enforcement agencies late Tuesday, NBC News first reported.

After the U.S. Capitol Police issued a similar warning, House leaders canceled Thursday’s legislative session. The Senate still plans to meet.

Extremists, emboldened by the Jan. 6 insurrection, may “exploit public gatherings either formally organized or spontaneous to engage in violence,” the memo states. 

According to adherents of QAnon, a right-wing conspiracy group that believes a secret cabal of Satan worshipers is running a global child sex-trafficking ring, former President Trump will be sworn in for a second term for the “true Inauguration Day” on March 4. 

Trump Called the FBI ‘Scum,’ Doubled Down on Debunked Conspiracy Theories at Pennsylvania Rally

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump continued to lash out at the FBI at a rally in Hershey, Pa., on Tuesday night, calling bureau leaders “scum” and doubling down on his claims of a debunked “deep state” conspiracy.

Trump’s diatribe came one day after the Justice Department’s inspector general report concluded the bureau didn’t improperly open its investigation into the Trump campaign, nor did it act with bias.

Trump spoke to a boisterous crowd, trying to discredit the report.

“The FBI also sent multiple undercover human spies to surveil and record people associated with our campaign.” Trump said. “Look how they’ve hurt people. They’ve destroyed the lives of people that were great people. That are still great people. Their lives have been destroyed by scum, OK? By scum.”

After the report’s release, Trump also dumped on his FBI director, Christopher Wray, for agreeing with the report’s conclusion that the bureau didn’t act improperly, despite making missteps.

“I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn’t the one given to me,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. “With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!”

DOJ’s Review of the Origins of the Trump Investigation Evolves into Criminal Probe

President Trump and AG William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump has long claimed, with no evidence, that the Russia investigation was a hoax and a “witch hunt.”

Now, two years later, the Justice Department’s inquiry into the origins of the probe has evolved into a criminal investigation.

Attorney General William Barr has turned over the investigation to John H. Durham, who will serve as the prosecutor with subpoena power over testimony and documents and the power to convene a grand jury, The New York Times reports.

In other words, the Justice Department is investigating itself over what Democrats say is unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.

Durham, a longtime prosecutor known for investigating CIA torture, will determine whether intelligence and law enforcement agencies acted within the law when they investigated possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Barr’s review of the Russia investigation began in May, when Barr said he had discussions with intelligence and law enforcement officials that led him to question the legitimacy of the investigation. At one point, Barr even described law enforcement’s actions as “spying” on the Trump campaign.

In an interview with Fox News in May, Barr said he had been pursuing questions about whether “government officials abused their power and put their thumb on the scale” to investigate the Russia link.

Since then, no credible evidence has been made public to suggest law enforcement acted inappropriately in investigating Trump’s campaign.

FBI Agents Slam Trump for Peddling Conspiracy Theory about Epstein’s Death

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump drew criticism and repulsion from current and retired FBI agents after he retweeted an unfounded conspiracy theory suggesting former President Bill Clinton was linked to the death of Jeffrey Epstein.

Despite mounting questions about how Epstein managed to kill himself so soon after being on suicide watch, no evidence has surfaced to give any conspiracy theory merit.

FBI agents told Business Insider that Trump’s decision to retweet the conspiracy theory to his 63 million followers was irresponsible and dangerous.

“The Epstein case was hypercharged from the get-go,” one current FBI agent, who requested anonymity, said. “The last thing investigators need is the president of the United States fanning the flames with these bullshit theories that have no basis in reality.”

Frank Montoya Jr., a recently retired FBI agent, called Trump’s actions “crazy talk.”

“This would be a bad TV melodrama if it weren’t real,” he added. “The world is watching. Trump may be successfully fooling a third of America with his sociopathic antics, but everyone else … sees how naked the Emperor is, and they are exploiting the advantage.”

Trump has a history of peddling baseless conspiracy theories, from suggesting President Obama was not born in the U.S. to feeding into the idea that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia may have been murdered in his bed. Since becoming president, he’s suggested elections were rigged and that there’s “a deep state” conspiracy to drive him from office.

Those conspiracy theories make it more difficult for the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies to do their jobs and undermines confidence in investigations, the agents said.

FBI: Far-right Conspiracy Theories Are Motivating Domestic Terrorism

The pizzeria behind the conspiracy theory known as Pizzagate. Photo by Farragutful.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Conspiracy theories peddled online are motivating people to commit domestic terrorism, the FBI wrote in an internal threat assessment.

The bulletin, first obtained by Yahoo News, says “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists” are a growing threat in the U.S.

“The FBI assesses anti-government, identity based, and fringe political conspiracy theories very likely motivate some domestic extremists, wholly or in part, to commit criminal and sometimes violent activity,” the report states. “The FBI further assesses in some cases these conspiracy theories very likely encourage the targeting of specific people, places, and organizations, thereby increasing the likelihood of violence against these targets. These assessments are made with high confidence, based on information from other law enforcement agencies, open source information, court documents, human sources with varying degrees of access and corroboration, and FBI investigations.”

The conspiracy theories are often rooted in white supremacy and anti-government ideologies. The FBI specifically mentions QAnon, a far-right conspiracy about a secret plot to remove President Trump from office, and Pizzagate, a belief that Hillary Clinton and her associates are running a pedophile ring out of a pizzeria basement, which doesn’t exist.

Also mentioned in the document is the gunman who killed 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Before the massacre, the shooter referenced the Zionist Occupation Government conspiracy theory.

With the rise of social media, conspiracy theories have been on the rise. Trump is often accused of fueling the hate that propels the conspiracy theories. In fact, he was arguably the loudest messenger of the conspiracy theory that President Obama was not born in the U.S.

As president, Trump continues to peddle conspiracy theories about “fake news” and a “witch hunt” to oust him.

The FBI recently warned that white supremacy is behind a majority of the domestic terrorism cases in the U.S. That has given rise to QAnon.

“Although conspiracy theory-driven crime and violence is not a new phenomenon, today’s information environment has changed the way conspiracy theories develop, spread, and evolve,” the report states. “The advent of the Internet and social media has enabled promoters of conspiracy theories to produce and share greater volumes of material via online platforms that larger audience of consumers can quickly and easily access.”