We’re All Conspiracy Theorists Now

Given the Breitbartization of the news, I’m sorry to say that in order to really understand what is going on in our country right now, it is important to occasionally check in on what is making the headlines at that site. Frankly, I was a bit blown away by this one: “WikiLeaks: CIA Uses ‘Stolen’ Malware to ‘Attribute’ Cyberattacks to Nations Like Russia.”

Documents released by WikiLeaks show that the CIA kept records of malware attacks supposedly stolen from outside agents, including the Russian government, used to “misdirect attribution” of hacking sources.

Essentially what they are doing is using the latest Wikileaks release to suggest that the whole story about Russian hacking of the DNC and members of Clinton’s campaign was a false flag set up by the CIA. That idea is now spreading on right wing web sites and twitter. In the past we could simply ignore this kind of thing by relegating it to the fevered imagination of extremists. But now those same extremists are inhabiting the White House.

It’s important to keep in mind that the recent Wikileaks dump comes at a time when the U.S. intelligence community is leaking details of their investigation into whether or not the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election. In return, the president has attacked them – going so far as to compare the intelligence community to Nazis.

With Trump’s accusation that Obama wiretapped him during the election, there is now a meme growing on the right about an epic battle between the president and what they’re calling the “deep state.” Here is Lou Dobbs talking about that with Peter Schweitzer (Steve Bannon colleague and author of Clinton Cash):

In watching all of this unfold, I’ve been trying real hard to avoid engaging in conspiracy theories myself. But with a story like this, that gets harder to do. So it’s good to know that I’m not the only one who is thinking along these lines:

James Lewis, senior vice-president at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies and an expert on cyber security, speculated that the motive behind the leak could be to underpin the false flag narrative of the Trump camp.

“This might be one explanation for the leaks – it’s data to build a case that the Russian interference and connections are a secret ‘deep state’ plot, as the false flag bits in WikiLeaks ‘shows’,” Lewis said, putting “Vault 7” in the context of the trial of strength between the president and intelligence agencies.

Sen. Chris Murphy suggests that the timing makes it suspicious.

It is significant to note that whenever information has been leaked related to the Russian investigation, Trump is always quick to take to Twitter to denounce the leaking. And yet when Wikileaks releases documents that some have suggested seriously hamper our intelligence capabilities, the POTUS is quiet.

I plan to resolve my dilemma about not engaging in conspiracy theories by paying attention to what is going on and noticing the patterns, while staying open to conclusions until we have the facts. Right now the whole Wikileaks release is definitely showing some signs of a very disturbing pattern.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.