While the country was trying to process the terror as it unfolded at the Boston Marathon on Monday, Alex Jones, a right-wing radio host, took to Twitter to express his sympathy for the victims—and to claim that the attack was part of a government conspiracy.
"Our hearts go out to those that are hurt or killed," Jones wrote. "But this thing stinks to high heaven #falseflag."
The "false flag" attack Jones was referring to is a term that originated during naval warfare. "For centuries, ships have sailed under a flag identifying their nationality," The Atlantic Wire noted. "During times of war, ships would sometimes change the national flag they flew in order to fool other vessels that they sought to attack or escape from. They would fly, in other words, a 'false flag.'"
Jones suggested that the FBI orchestrated the bombings under the false flag of a terrorist organization in order to justify expanded security powers. The Boston attack, he theorized, was staged by the U.S. government to extend the reach of both the Dept. of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration.
"Just wait folks," the 39-year-old Texan wrote. "#TSA groping you at sporting events coming soon."
Jones posted a YouTube video further fanning the false-flag flames, saying that reports of a "controlled explosion” drill, scheduled to coincide with the race, was proof that the FBI was behind the Boston Marathon blasts.
“I said on air that they’re getting ready to blow something up," Jones said on his radio show later on Monday, according to Salon.com. "To fire a shot heard round the world like at Lexington and Concord, and then they do it at this same place on the same day!”
While the FBI could "blame it on the Muslims," Jones predicted "they’re going to blame it on the Tea Party.”
During a press conference on Monday afternoon, Dan Bidondi, a radio host for Jones' InfoWars.com, asked Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick if the explosions were staged.
"Is this another false flag staged attack to take our civil liberties and promote homeland security while sticking their hands down our pants on the streets?" Bidondi asked.
"No," Patrick responded. "Next question."
On Tuesday, Jones led the charge in perpetuating another conspiracy theory, tweeting a link to a strategically-edited YouTube clip of a "Family Guy" episode that he claimed "predicted" the Boston Marathon attack.
"Turban Cowboy," which premiered in the U.S. on March 17, culminates with a scene depicting Peter Griffin accidentally blowing up a bridge by dialing a terrorist's cell phone. But in the video making the rounds online, the cell phone scene is placed immediately after an unrelated moment in the episode when Bob Costas, voicing himself, asks Peter how he won the Boston Marathon.
The clip was pulled from YouTube, Fox removed the episode from Hulu, and Seth MacFarlane, the show's creator, responded to the conspiracy claim.
"The edited Family Guy clip currently circulating is abhorrent," MacFarlane wrote on Twitter. "The event was a crime and a tragedy, and my thoughts are with the victims."
But Jones, figuratively draped in his false flag, was undeterred.
"Seth MacFarlane created a cartoon which made fun of terrorist bombings and depicted mutilated Boston Marathon runners," Jones responded. "Yet he is labeling people who merely talk about the episode as 'abhorrent.'"