Conspiracy Theorists Already Suspect Navy Yard Shooting Is a 'False Flag'

Before we knew the names of the victims, the motive behind the attack, or even how many shooters there were, some conspiracy theorists thought they figured out what had happened at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday morning.

Alex Jones, the antigovernment broadcaster who reaches millions every day through his syndicated radio show and Infowars Web empire, speculated the shooting may be a "false flag" operation intended to distract Americans from Syria, as well as the anniversary of the Benghazi attack and the simmering Internal Revenue Service scandal.

"You've got all the other scandals, so this is a great way to change the subject," Jones said on his radio show Monday morning, which is broadcast on more than 80 stations across the country. "It's a way to divert everyone."

For Jones, the shooting may be the latest in a long line of "false flag" operations, in which the government allegedly stages phony terror attacks to gin up popular support for disarming Americans or taking away their civil liberties. He confidently labeled the Boston Marathon bombing a hoax within hours of the explosion, but was more circumspect Monday.

"It may be real crazies, but look at the timing. Obama rolling out a national campaign against guns yesterday, and then this happens," he said.

For conspiracy theorists, the "why" for such tragedies is always the same. "We've all got to give up our rights because it's so scary. It's all about mind control," Jones explained.

And he's not alone. On conspiracy message boards and forums, users who see themselves as citizen journalists have cut together YouTube videos that they claim show possible "actors" at the scene. One video shows a near-victim laughing with a local TV reporter when the two didn't realize they were on air. "One would think at a moment such as this, a reporter and a 'near victim' wouldn't be laughing, especially when they didn't realize they'd be caught on camera," the conspiracy website Before It's News explained.

On the subReddit dedicated to conspiracy theories, one user wrote, "Thought the Navy Yard shooting was just a shooting until I saw this CNN tweet: "CNN: THE ATF HAS SENT SAME SPECIAL RESPONSE TEAM THAT HELPED TAKE DOWN BOSTON BOMBING SUSPECT IN BOAT." Others murmured in agreement.

After Sandy Hook, Boston, Aruroa, and 9/11, it's hardly surprising that conspiracy theories emerge around such tragic incidents, but the speed is always startling.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.