After that late 2012 shooting in Newtown, Conn., in which 27 people were killed, conspiracy theorists alleged that the attack was staged, perhaps as part of a plot to promote a gun control agenda — a sentiment Chesley appeared to echo in the video.
“There’s a lot of motivation at this time to emphasize or create incidents that will cause gun control or prejudice or hatred towards the Muslim community,” Chesley told reporters in the video.
“When we went to our questioning with the FBI, there were a lot of attempts to basically link this to online accounts or visits to the Middle East and every one of them just fell flat,” he said.
Chesley made similar allegations on CNN this week.
“There’s a lot of things that quite frankly don’t add up or seem implausible. … There’s a lot of things that just don’t make sense,” he told CNN’s Chris Cuomo.
Conspiracy theories commonly spring up online following such tragedies, including after the Colorado Springs shooting last Friday. But while the Internet facilitates their proliferation, it also facilitates the response, says Joe Uscinski, co-author of the book “American Conspiracy Theories” and an associate professor of political science at the University of Miami, where he chaired the Conference on Conspiracy Theories in March.
“The Internet acts both as the incubator for conspiracy theories, but it also acts as the antidote,” he said in a far-ranging interview on conspiracy theories published Friday morning.