Wingnuts – and Russian bots – now say there’s a Secret Society inside the FBI…. (More)

“Now a secret society?”

Sadly, the wingnuts hold public office. Case in point – Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI):

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said on Tuesday he had an “informant” corroborate reports concerning the existence of an FBI “secret society” working to undermine President Trump.

“What this is all about is further evidence of corruption, more than bias, but corruption at the highest levels of the FBI,” Johnson told Fox News’ Bret Baier.

“Now a secret society? We have an informant that’s talking about a group that were holding secret meetings off site. There is so much smoke here, there is so much suspicion,” the senator continued.

Lemme just say, I have no doubt there are dozens, if not hundreds of FBI agents who are furious with the God-King for firing James Comey and challenging their integrity on a near-weekly basis. They can’t grouse about that at the office, first because they’re professionals and have work to do, and second because they don’t want the fallout from wingnut colleagues “blowing the whistle” on “disloyalty.” Not to the FBI or the U.S. Constitution, which they’re sworn to uphold and defend, but “disloyalty” to the God-King.

So it wouldn’t surprise me if some of them occasionally get together after hours, privately, to vent their frustrations. And that, per Sen. Johnson’s “informant,” would be a “secret society … holding secret meetings off site.”

It’s also “friends getting together for an after-hours gripe-fest,” but “secret society … holding secret meetings off site” sounds ever-so-much more sinister. And wingnut conspiracy theories thrive on “sinister.”

It’s not just Sen. Johnson. House Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and John Ratcliffe (R-TX) also went on Fox News to howl about this “secret society.” Indeed Fox News is the go-to source for official wingnut conspiracy theories, as Vox’s Zack Beauchamp reports:

In the conservative world, outrage over “the missing texts” is everywhere.

The allegation, which you’re hearing from President Trump, Fox News, and Republicans in Congress alike, is that the FBI intentionally deleted an unknown number of texts between two FBI employees. The messages of special agent Peter Strzok and attorney Lisa Page supposedly contain proof of an FBI plot to undermine the Trump presidency.

Strzok and Page have been in the crosshairs of the White House and its defenders since the mid-December release of texts in which they discussed an “insurance policy” against Trump in the runup to the November election. Special counsel Robert Mueller removed Strzok from his team when he became aware of the texts, but that hasn’t stopped some conservatives from alleging that they prove the Mueller probe is a partisan witch hunt.

“Are we really supposed to believe that the FBI simply lost text messages from that important time frame? This is like Watergate but far worse,” Sean Hannity said on his Monday night show. “This reeks of law-breaking, it reeks of conspiracy, and it reeks of obstruction of justice.”

In Realworldia, there’s no evidence of “law-breaking” that “reeks of conspiracy” or “reeks of obstruction of justice.” There are only texts between then-lovers who privately vented their frustrations about the God-King, and hinted to each other that they’ve also vented with other colleagues. That’s not illegal or even unethical. But wingnuts wanted a Hillary Clinton Perp-Walk, a wish fueled in part by almost-daily leaks by anti-Clinton FBI agents in the New York field office, about which not a single Republican complained. And when that investigation turned up no evidence of a crime, of course that proved FBI headquarters was a hotbed of Obama-Clinton-Lynch-Soros corruption. Because of course it would …

… and Beauchamp explains how that outrage exposes the real problem:

This rhetoric points to the real scandal here: Republicans are trying to impose a partisan, Trump-loyalist litmus test on America’s top law enforcement agency. Moreover, they’re working to derail a probe into the growing evidence that Russia meddled in an American election on a massive scale.

And thus the conspiracy theory metastasizes:

Conservative media now regularly refers to a “deep state” of FBI and Justice Department officials working to undermine Trump. Increasingly, this kind of conspiratorial language has bled over into the actions of elected officials. In November, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) gave a speech on the House floor arguing that the Mueller probe was part of a quiet coup against America’s elected officials.

“We are at risk of a coup d’état in this country if we allow an unaccountable person with no oversight to undermine the duly elected president of the United States,” Gaetz said.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) has put together a secret memo – one that he won’t even share with the Justice Department – that allegedly shows proof of institutional anti-Trump bias at the FBI and DOJ. The memo, like the texts, has become a kind of cause célèbre in the conservative movement. #ReleaseTheMemo is a popular hashtag in right-wing social media circles.

And now Rush Limbaugh is speculating that the liberal-deep-state CIA concocted evidence about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction … to undermine President George W. Bush. You might think that would be transparently preposterous. But RedState’s Carl Arbogast explains why Limbaugh and others get away with it:

Think for a moment about what Limbaugh said. He’s suggesting (even the mere possibility) that the intelligence community of the United States of America purposely lied about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, thereby putting the lives of thousands of troops at risk, not to mention the people of Iraq, because they wanted to make George W. Bush look bad.

It is not only nutty, but it is also dangerous. Why? Because people will believe it.

Limbaugh, Hannity and other assorted characters on the right have convinced many people that corruption within the FBI runs so deep, people within the agency, at senior levels including former Directory James Comey and current Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, were all involved in a scheme to prevent Donald Trump from winning the presidential election.

It’s a crying shame. Once level-headed, even if fiercely partisan conservatives, have sunk themselves to the level of pukes such as Jim Hoft, Alex Jones and goofball “conservative” websites like Conservative Treehouse and Truepundit that only exist to show allegiance to Dear Leader Trump. [Original emphasis]

The wingnut lunatics have truly taken over, as Beauchamp concludes:

The “texts,” in this narrative, are the new version of Hillary Clinton’s private server emails — a kind of totem that conservatives can point to in order to prove that their enemies really are nefarious and that proof of their wildest theories is there if only someone could find it. This is typical in conspiracy theories; strange coincidences are strung together in a narrative that looks scary if you squint at it right. The absence of proof is taken as its own kind of proof.

What’s atypical about this conspiracy is that it’s being embraced by much of the conservative movement — up to and including the President of the United States.

The pathetic truth is that today’s Republican Party has been taken over by paranoid authoritarians who believe, simultaneously, that the FBI is politically compromised … and that it’s just fine for the God-King to ask senior FBI officials if they voted for him.

And they wonder why those FBI agents get together after hours to gripe about political interference with their work. Oops. They wonder why there’s a “secret society … holding secret meetings off-site.”

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Photo Credit: Aude (Wikipedia)

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Good day and good nuts