Conspiracy theories were spread after an Amtrak train
carrying Republican lawmakers collided with a truck.
The cause of the crash has yet to be determined and the
scene is still under investigation.
Various social media accounts propagated the conspiracy
theories Wednesday night, some of which linked them to a secret
GOP memo on the Russia investigation that is expected to be
Following a Wednesday morning train crash that killed one person
and severely injured another in the Washington D.C. area,
conspiracy theorists attempted to commandeer the story on social
The Amtrak train carrying Republican lawmakers and their family
members to an annual retreat struck a garbage truck on its way
from Washington D.C. to West Virginia. The incident spurred
multiple conspiracy theories in light of heightened partisan
bickering over the Russia probe and accusations of
law-enforcement bias against President Donald Trump.
Some of the conspiracy theories claimed the train incident was
perpetrated by so-called “deep-state” actors — a term used by
fringe right-wing groups to describe rogue government employees
who secretly attempt to manipulate US policy.
“If you think that that truck just stalled there by itself, and
somebody didn’t kill that guy and park it up there on the tracks,
that’s how they like to do it,” InfoWars host Alex Jones said on
Wednesday. “It’s a classic CIA tactic too.”
“You’ll kill somebody, have them in the car, and remote control
it into the next vehicle. That is the standard assassination tool
right now,” Jones continued. “This is standard dump truck …
that is CIA playbook 100%.”
Jones’ website suggested someone hacked the traffic
controls in the area, prompting the collision.
Others began analyzing images of a damaged train to support a
theory that a truck intentionally rammed the train to derail it.
The timing of the crash also raised eyebrows amongst purveyors of
the “deep-state” conspiracy, amid the looming release of a
polarizing House Intelligence Committee memo that claims anti-Trump
bias at the FBI.
Conspiracy theorists also drew connections between tweets
allegedly posted by political personalities. A screenshot
purporting to show an ill-timed tweet from the conservative
political analyst Bill Kristol attracted suspicion as well.
“Once we’re sure everyone involved is ok, assuming they are, I
hereby give permission to Twitter to indulge in all manner of GOP
train wreck jokes. I do think that by having the train hit…yes,
a garbage truck…the scriptwriters of ‘2018’ jumped the shark,”
the purported tweet read.
The alleged Kristol tweet, as illustrated by the screenshot, had
an 11:07 a.m. time stamp, meaning it would have been sent 13
minutes before the train crash occurred.
Meanwhile, the cause of the crash is still under investigation,
A search of “GOP train crash” on Twitter yielded results from
users who have made unverified claims about the incident. Top
tweets with the most engagements included posts from users who
amplified the conspiracy theories.
“Isn’t it odd that a dump truck was on the tracks of a scheduled
GOP retreat? Are we supposed to believe this was an ‘accident’
?,” one tweet with over 870 retweets
and 1,700 likes said. “Don’t forget when republicans were
targeted by a crazy liberal when they had a baseball game!”
“Wray should be worrying about a truck that just happened to
crash into a GOP train,” another user tweeted. “Not covering the
asses of corrupt FBI agents. Wake up!”
The conspiracy claims also spread to Facebook, as posts made by
users not affiliated with news organizations began adding their
own comments to otherwise-reputable news articles, which then
began appearing at the top Facebook’s curated news sections.
Facebook responded to the incidents. calling them a “bad
experience” and saying it would “work to fix the product.”
“Trending includes a separate section of people’s individual
posts related to the news event; it’s essentially a comments
section,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a Daily Beast report. “We built
this as a way for you to easily see what others are saying around