Conspiracy Theorists Already Suspect Navy Yard Shooting Is a ‘False Flag’

Alex Jones says the shooting may be an attempt to distract from Benghazi.

An aerial view of the Anacostia River with the Washington Navy Yard on the left bank, 01/17/1991.  
National Journal
Alex Seitz Wald
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Alex Seitz-Wald
Sept. 16, 2013, 9:24 a.m.

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 IRS 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, Au­rora, and 9/11, it’s hardly sur­pris­ing that con­spir­acy the­or­ies emerge around such tra­gic in­cid­ents, but the speed is al­ways start­ling.

What We're Following See More »
Morning Consult Poll: Clinton Decisively Won Debate
2 days ago

"According to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, the first national post-debate survey, 43 percent of registered voters said the Democratic candidate won, compared with 26 percent who opted for the Republican Party’s standard bearer. Her 6-point lead over Trump among likely voters is unchanged from our previous survey: Clinton still leads Trump 42 percent to 36 percent in the race for the White House, with Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson taking 9 percent of the vote."

Trump Draws Laughs, Boos at Al Smith Dinner
2 days ago

After a lighthearted beginning, Donald Trump's appearance at the Al Smith charity dinner in New York "took a tough turn as the crowd repeatedly booed the GOP nominee for his sharp-edged jokes about his rival Hillary Clinton."

McMullin Leads in New Utah Poll
3 days ago

Evan McMul­lin came out on top in a Emer­son Col­lege poll of Utah with 31% of the vote. Donald Trump came in second with 27%, while Hillary Clin­ton took third with 24%. Gary John­son re­ceived 5% of the vote in the sur­vey.

Quinnipiac Has Clinton Up by 7
3 days ago

A new Quin­nipi­ac Uni­versity poll finds Hillary Clin­ton lead­ing Donald Trump by seven percentage points, 47%-40%. Trump’s “lead among men and white voters all but” van­ished from the uni­versity’s early Oc­to­ber poll. A new PPRI/Brook­ings sur­vey shows a much bigger lead, with Clinton up 51%-36%. And an IBD/TIPP poll leans the other way, showing a vir­tu­al dead heat, with Trump tak­ing 41% of the vote to Clin­ton’s 40% in a four-way match­up.

Trump: I’ll Accept the Results “If I Win”
3 days ago

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.