In a Federal Bureau of Intelligence bulletin dated May 30th, 2019, the FBI’s Phoenix Field Office warned that it was “Very Likely” that “Fringe Political Conspiracy Theories” such as Pizzagate and QAnon would eventually motivate its adherents to violence. Somewhat surprisingly, the bulletin later goes on to concede that the conspiratorial mindset underpinning such theories may be influenced by “the illegal, antidemocratic, or harmful activities by high level government officials and political elites” - also known as actual conspiracies.
One of the more persistent, but less well-known, conspiracy theories surrounding Watergate is the crash of United Airlines flight 553 that killed Dorothy Hunt, a former government employee who was transporting $10,000 in hush money on behalf of her husband and Watergate burglar, E. Howard Hunt. Recently released Federal Bureau of Investigation files, however, tell a different story - one of pilot error, unfortunate coincidence, and an utter lack of foul play.
Despite ample evidence of premeditation, public knowledge of political and personal clashes, and a taped confession, Dan White was charged with voluntary manslaughter after he assassinated San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. Previously processed Federal Bureau of Investigation records released to Emma Best reveal details about White’s alleged antisemitism and homophobia, and lend credence to accusations that the State’s prosecution of White was performed with “reckless and wanton disregard of normal prosecutorial standards.”
In 1978, a JFK assassination hoax emerged that continues to fuel conspiracy theories and accusations against the Central Intelligence Agency. Two news stories began to circulate claiming that the House Select Committee on Assassinations had obtained an alleged 1966 CIA memo placing Howard Hunt, of Watergate infamy, in Dallas on the day of President John Kennedy’s assassination. Some conspiracy enthusiasts have tried to use the two articles to corroborate each other, unaware that they shared the same source. A review of over 1,000 pages of documents and testimony gives the story of - and dismantles - the HSCA memo hoax.
A journal entry from the Central Intelligence Agency’s Office of Legislative Counsel uncovered in the CIA’s declassified archives shows Agency interest at the possibility of a conspiracy behind the Soviet’s surprise victory over the American basketball team in the 1972 Olympics.