The Other McCain

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Bomb Hoaxes Achieve Goal of Inspiring Unsubstantiated Political Speculation

Posted on | October 25, 2018 | 1 Comment


Let’s start with the official FBI statement:

Between October 22 and 24, 2018, suspicious packages were received at multiple locations in the New York and Washington, D.C., areas and Florida. The packages are being sent for analysis at the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia.
“This investigation is of the highest priority for the FBI. We have committed the full strength of the FBI’s resources and, together with our partners on our Joint Terrorism Task Forces, we will continue to work to identify and arrest whoever is responsible for sending these packages,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “We ask anyone who may have information to contact the FBI. Do not hesitate to call; no piece of information is too small to help us in this investigation.”
The packages are similar in appearance . . . and contain potentially destructive devices.
The packages were mailed in manila envelopes with bubble wrap interior. The packages were affixed with computer-printed address labels and six Forever stamps. All packages had a return address of “DEBBIE WASSERMAN SHULTZ” [sic] in Florida. Packages identified to date were addressed to:

George Soros
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Former President Barack Obama
Former CIA Director John Brennan, care of CNN
Former Attorney General Eric Holder

The package addressed to former Attorney General Holder did not reach its intended destination, but was rerouted to the return address in Florida.
The FBI will continue to work with our federal law enforcement partners at the United States Secret Service, United States Postal Inspection Service, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as our state and local law enforcement partners, to identify and arrest the person or people responsible for sending these packages.
It is possible that additional packages were mailed to other locations. The FBI advises the public to remain vigilant and not touch, move or handle any suspicious or unknown packages.
If you have information about these packages, please contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or If you observe any suspicious activity that requires an immediate response, please call 911 or contact your local law enforcement.

Speculation ran wild that this was done by either (a) a right-wing kook inspired by President Trump’s rhetoric or (b) a left-wing kook trying to make right-wingers look guilty. There is abundant reason to believe (b), although we don’t know. My expectation is that the FBI will have a suspect in custody by Monday. They won’t get away with this, and they probably did it knowing full well they would get caught.

These were not actual bombs. There were no explosions. These “potentially destructive devices” were constructed to look dangerous, but obviously the person sending them did not want to kill their targets. This is in itself evidence of motive, pointing toward (b) and not (a).

As soon as these bomb scares made news Wednesday, conservatives on Twitter suggested it was (b), known as the “false flag” theory, and were immediately denounced by liberals for suggesting this. However, common sense is not paranoia, and there are lots of common sense reasons to lean toward the “false flag” theory of this crime:

  1. The hoaxer would have to be phenomenally stupid to imagine they could escape apprehension. In the age of video surveillance and advanced forensics, you can’t send bombs (or fake bomb-looking devices) to high-profile political targets and evade the Joint Terrorism Task Force. No, you’re going to be in handcuffs within 72 hours, I’d guess, and so we must ask: Who is stupid enough not to understand this?
  2. The return addresses misspelled the surname of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and the package delivered to CNN misspelled the surname of John Brennan. If you hate these people so much that you’d want to kill them with bombs, wouldn’t you bother learning how to spell their names? Again, this looks like evidence of stupidity.
  3. Republicans are winning. Every political analyst is now saying that the GOP is almost certain to retain control of the Senate, and may even be able to turn back the Democrat “blue wave” in the House. Political terrorism is usually committed by losers, and since the Kavanaugh hearings, Republicans have been looking like winners, so why would a right-winger want to screw up that winning streak by sending bombs?

A non-lethal threat to big-name Democrats, perpetrated by someone so stupid they think they can escape a federal terrorism task force? Well, I can’t rule out that a right-wing dimwit committed this hoax — anything is possible — but it sure as heck reminds me of the fake “hate crime” hoaxes that plague university campuses every spring. This has become a predictable annual ritual. A racial slur or homophobic epithet is scrawled in a dorm hallway or whatever and, a couple weeks later, a liberal student is arrested for making a false police report:

Following President Trump’s election and inauguration, several universities have seen an increase in such reports.
One student at the University of Michigan faked an attack because of what she called a post-election “surge in hate crimes.” The UM student was fined $660 and is on a suspended 93-day jail sentence, pending probation adherence, for falsely reporting a hate crime. She admitted to having mental health issues when she pleaded guilty, but at the time, she told police she was targeted for wearing a solidarity pin.
She later admitted to scratching herself with her solidarity pin after becoming upset during a woman’s literature class at the University of Michigan, according to the Ann Arbor Police Department report. . . .
A note that used the N-word and threatened a black female student at St. Olaf College inspired a student-led protest against institutional racism at the school and the cancellation of classes.
Only problem? It “was not a genuine threat,” according to the school’s president. The author of the note confessed to fabricating it “to draw attention to concerns about the campus climate.”

Michelle Malkin has spent years chronicling campus hate hoaxes, and anyone who has paid attention to this phenomenon for the past 15 years or so must be skeptical of anything resembling this familiar pattern.

Wednesday, I sat here at my desk working while the TV in my home office was blaring out news about this bomb scare, and for several hours, I avoided the temptation to comment, while speculation ran wild on social media. We don’t know what we don’t know, and it’s foolish to rush into these things claiming to know something when you don’t. Better to wait for the FBI to arrest the suspect and then let the chips fall where they may. But this didn’t stop Democrats from blaming you-know-who:

On Wednesday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” former Clinton aide Philippe Reines commented on the devices sent to various political and media figures and stated that “you have to ask how much Donald Trump is responsible for the climate that we’re in where things like this happen.”
Reines said, “These are very lucky people, in that the former first families have Secret Service protection with such robust protocols. But if you look at who they’ve targeted so far, it’s almost like they’re following Donald Trump’s Twitter feed. . . . I think you have to ask how much Donald Trump is responsible for the climate that we’re in where things like this happen.”

If Clinton aides can rush to blame Trump without any evidence whatsoever, the floor is open to speculation, and Wednesday night, I called my brother Kirby to talk theories. He’s pretty good at this stuff, and he made two very insightful suggestions I’ll share here:

  1. It was the Kavanaugh confirmation that inspired the bomb-hoaxer, so about three weeks went into the preparation of this hoax.
  2. If this is a left-winger trying to frame Trump supporters, the perpetrator probably scrubbed their social-media profiles recently, to remove evidence of their political affiliation. They may even have fabricated a phony right-wing online presence, so that when they’re apprehended, the media will find a bunch of pro-Trump messages on their Facebook page, etc.

Whatever the facts may be, the sooner the perpetrator is in custody, the better for everyone. Facts are always better than speculation.




One Response to “Bomb Hoaxes Achieve Goal of Inspiring Unsubstantiated Political Speculation”

  1. Right Wing Nut Job – OR – Barking Moon Bat? | 357 Magnum
    October 25th, 2018 @ 6:01 pm

    […] The Left is blaming Trump and the Right. The Right is blaming the Left. All with no actual information. Bomb Hoaxes Achieve Goal of Inspiring Unsubstantiated Political Speculation. […]