Politics

04.21.14

9/11 Truthers Can Be Politicians, Too

While September 11 conspiracy believers are fringe, they’re also bipartisan.

According to a Tea Party candidate for U.S. Senate in North Carolina, questions about 9/11 still need to be asked. Greg Brannon is a doctor endorsed by Rand Paul who is in a fiercely contested GOP primary in the Tarheel State to take on incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan. In  2012, Brannon, while appearing on a conservative talk show in his capacity as leader of the tea party organization Founder’s Truth, said more questions needed to be asked about the attacks on September 11 and then dodged inquires about whether he himself was a truther.

On Monday, Mother Jones, the liberal publication that first published Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” tape, published Brannon’s statements on 9/11. The North Carolina candidate is not the only politician in recent years to embrace conspiracy theories centering on the attacks on September 11 and those who propagate them. These are five others who have done so.

Jesse Ventura

The former Minnesota governor and professional wrestler has long been enamored of fringe theories——he currently lives off the grid in Mexico so drones won’t find him. Ventura has long been a vocal proponent of the theory that 9/11 was an inside job and that the U.S. government, specifically Vice President Dick Cheney, knew the attacks would happen in advance. Ventura also believes that 7 World Trade Center was destroyed in a controlled demolition (rather than from fires caused by the debris of the plane crash).

Cynthia McKinney

For 12 years, from 1993-2003 and then from 2005-2007, Democrat Cynthia McKinney represented a majority African-American district around DeKalb County in suburban Atlanta. During her time on Capitol Hill, McKinney courted controversy constantly, embracing Robert Mugabe and Louis Farrakhan, flirting with anti-Semitism, and allegedly striking a member of the Capitol Hill Police. She also readily embraced conspiracy theories around 9/11. Starting in a March 2002 interview, she suggested that the Bush administration had prior knowledge of the attacks. Since leaving Congress, McKinney has since gone on to compare 9/11 truthers to civil-rights activists.

Mike Gravel

Former senator from Alaska and long shot 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Mike Gravel embraced the 9/11 truther movement and called for a series of statewide initiatives to force the federal government to create a second 9/11 Commission. Gravel has stated that the attack on the World Trade Center was likely “an inside job.” None of the initiatives made the ballot in any of the states that Gravel, whose fringe presidential campaign was best known for its Dada ads, targeted.

Ron Paul

The former congressman has long fostered a welcoming environment for 9/11 truthers. His Ron Paul Institute For Peace And Prosperity has a number of conspiracy theorists on its board and has put out publications that allege “Washington’s crackpot conspiracy theory of 9/11 is false.”

Rand Paul

Rand Paul is not a 9/11 truther. However, he has embraced the argument that Vice President Dick Cheney used the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon to push for the Iraq War in order to benefit Haliburton. In a 2009 speech, Paul said that before working for the major defense contractor, Cheney thought an invasion of Iraq would be a bad idea in the aftermath of the Gulf War. However, he changed his tune after rejoining the government with George W. Bush’s election in 2000. Paul suggested that this reversal by Cheney was the result of a desire to enrich his former employers at Haliburton.