John Bolton suggested this weekend that a CIA report alleging Russian interference in the 2016 election aimed at getting President-elect Donald Trump elected could actually be a "false flag" perpetrated by the Obama administration. Bolton is reportedly a candidate for a top role in the incoming administration.
The term "false flag" is common among conspiracy theorists and suggests the government has carried out an event for some nefarious purpose, but faked that another entity or government did the act. The terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. on Sept. 11, 2001, for instance, are often deemed a false flag by so-called "truthers."
Bolton, who made his comments Sunday in an interview with Eric Shawn on Fox News, suggested the Obama administration politicized an apparent Russian hacking of DNC computers and questioned why the FBI didn't see the same kind of evidence on the personal server of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
"It is not at all clear to me just viewing this from the outside, that this hacking into the DNC and the RNC computers was not a false flag," Bolton said. "So the question has to be asked, why did the Russians run their smart intelligence service against Hillary's server, but their dumb intelligence service against the election?"
The CIA assessed that Russian hackers, who flooded WikiLeaks with thousands of stolen emails related to Clinton, interfered with the U.S. election with the distinct purpose of helping Trump get elected, the Washington Post reported last week.
Trump, who has skipped intelligence meetings, saying it's OK because he's smart, has denied Russian meddled in the election, despite the CIA's assessment. He wrote on Twitter Monday that it would be called a "conspiracy theory" if he said the same had he lost, and that unless "you catch 'hackers' in the act, it is very hard to determine who was doing the hacking."
A number of people close to Trump have trafficked in conspiracy theories, including his choice for national security adviser, retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who has shared on social media fake, conspiracy-laden stories about Obama and Clinton. Trump has also appeared on a radio show hosted by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who, among other claims, has said the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut — during which 20 children and 6 adults were killed — was a staged, and "completely fake with actors."
Jones said Trump called him after he won the presidency, which the campaign neither confirmed nor denied. In an interview with Jones last December Trump told Jones, "your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down."