November 17, 2018

CONSPIRACY DEPENDS ON AN OMNIPOTENCE NOT IN EVIDENCE:

Anatomy of a Conspiracy Theory: Credible sources say the Las Vegas shooting was a one-man job. But a small band of former government insiders is propagating a wild alternative theory--with dangerous consequences. (KEITH KLOOR November 16, 2018, Politico)

The idea sprang from the twisted, feverish mind of Infowars' Alex Jones days after the Vegas attack. "They found Antifa information in the room," Jones claimed in one telecast. "The whole thing has the hallmarks of being scripted by deep-state Democrats and their Islamic allies using mental-patient cutouts," he said. Others of his ilk then amplified the unsubstantiated Antifa-ISIS allegations on social media in what became a frothy concoction of phony tweets, Facebook posts and YouTube videos.

But weeks later, the theory took on a life of its own in an ad hoc "alternative" investigation spearheaded by my two lunch companions--Brad Johnson, a retired CIA officer, and Rich Higgins, a former Pentagon official who last year served for a few months in the White House as director of strategic planning for the National Security Council. (Yes, the same Rich Higgins who infamously got tossed off the NSC for writing a controversial memo warning that "Islamists," "globalists" and the "deep state" together were trying to subvert Donald Trump's presidency.) A month after the October shooting in Vegas, Johnson, Higgins and a handful of associates collaborated on a 51-page PowerPoint document based, according to its executive summary, on "open source information with tactical counter terrorism analysis, cyber intelligence, and digital data mining capabilities." Higgins and Johnson told me they sent the document to contacts in the CIA and FBI, as well as to conservatives in Congress and the media. Higgins claims a current FBI agent in his and Johnson's circle--who he says had input on the document--"filed it as a formal report with the bureau."


This prosecutor's cut-and-paste mistake revealed case against WikiLeaks founder (Rachel Weiner, November 16, 2018, Washington Post)

Any writer's nightmare is a copy-and-paste error that goes into print.

But it's the rare typo that makes international news.

That's what happened to Kellen Dwyer, an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia who inadvertently revealed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had been charged under seal. Dwyer twice put Assange's name, along with a vague description of the case against him, in a document filed in what officials said was a completely unrelated child solicitation case.

Posted by at November 17, 2018 4:30 PM

  

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