On Feb. 28, U.S. Reps. Steve King (R-IA) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX) spent almost an hour speaking in tribute to right-wing pundit and former Department of Homeland Security official Philip Haney, who had been found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound the previous week. During his odd speech, King insisted that Haney would “never commit suicide” and implied that “deep state” forces were at work in Haney’s death.
On Feb. 21, Philip Haney was found dead in his car, in an open park area near State highway 124, three miles from his residence in Amador County, California. Amador County Sheriff’s Office Undersheriff Gary Redman told reporters that, while they were still investigating the death, “Everything we saw on-scene is consistent with somebody putting a gun to themselves and pulling the trigger.”
Haney was considered in right-wing circles to be a whistleblower against the Obama administration. He had published a book attacking the administration for not taking the threat of terrorism seriously and not being transparent with the public about the threat. His anti-Muslim stance led right-wing media outlets such as Fox News to give him air time to voice his opinions. After his death was announced, right-wing outlets began writing that Haney would never have committed suicide and that his death was suspicious, and implied that a deep state conspiracy was afoot.
As The Sacramento Bee reports, the conspiracy-minded among the right wing have been fed by the fact that Haney’s death has not been given a final ruling by police yet, noting that “in an update Monday, the Sheriff’s Office said ‘misinformation’ was circulating that the death had been ruled a suicide, when no such determination has been officially made. This second news release did not include reference to the gunshot wound as being ‘self-inflicted.’”
Right-wing sources have published a lot of unsubstantiated information as facts, such as the claim that Haney died of a gunshot wound to the chest. The day after Haney’s death, Steve King tweeted out a link to an article on Fox News and wrote, “Phil Haney was a friend & patriot. He was a target because of all he knew of Islamic terrorist coverups. He insured his life by archiving data that incriminated the highest levels of the Obama administration. Phil Haney didn’t kill himself. RIP, Phil.”
Haney in recent years had been mysterious about what he was investigating, but let on that it had to do with Minnesota politician Keith Ellison and “progressive leftist socialists” trying to impose Sharia law in America. After his death, right-wing conspiracy theorists such as Glenn Beck (yes, that guy) have focused on the claim that Haney had discovered and saved tons of incriminating evidence on deep state actors and that this information led to Haney’s supposed murder.
According to the Daily Beast, conspiracy theorists believe that a thumb drive that Hanley supposedly wore around his neck might be the key to unlocking the true nature of his death. King’s version in his speech in the House was, “And he had a thumb drive with a lot of data on it—I don’t know how many gigs it was—hanging in a lanyard around his neck.”
None of us knows what happened to Philip Haney. But if your conspiracy theory is based on the idea that secret deep state officials wanted information he had hanging around his neck—well, I hate to tell you this, but that dog won’t hunt. Just think about it for a few moments: If you were paranoid that the information you had uncovered could get you killed, the literal last place you would keep that singular file would be around your neck. If you were trying to insure yourself from being killed by secret deep state actors, you would make sure that the information you had on them was elsewhere, and that if anything bad happened to you, it would be released—forget about the fact that you sort of should have already released said information.
The other problem with conspiracy theories like the Deep State theory is that you cannot have a diabolical secret cabal, with Hollywood-like special forces-level abilities, who decide the best way to proceed—to get this secret thumb drive from around his neck, is to kill a guy and then STEAL something that any bozo could have just stolen from him in the first place. There are myriad easier ways to deal with this wacky issue if you were the magical deep state.
For his part, Gohmert professed to having had a special “pact” with Haney: “We had a mutual pact, it said: either one of us ended up committing suicide, then the other is going to make sure that the truth wins out.”
Posted with permission from Daily Kos