Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, Sigmund Freud is credited by some with having said. Whether it was him or someone else, we would all do well to heed that sage counsel as we draw inexorably closer to one of the highest-stakes elections in the history of the nation.
As though the contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump weren’t already ugly enough, new conspiracy theories are being hatched by the day, framed mostly by desperate Americans who have reduced the electoral process to a fan sport.
The latest claim to light up the blogosphere is that Team Clinton ordered the murder of Justice Antonin Scalia. The source of the allegation is a WikiLeaks email exchange between Democratic lobbyist Steve Elmendorf and Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta. The several sentences that make up this brief dialog are generating a crap-ton of speculation. For starters here is the back-and-forth between Elmendorf and Podesta:
According to Infowars, a conservative site that makes its living spinning conspiracy theories, the explanation for all this is as follows:
Justice [Antonin] Scalia was later found dead in a hotel room in Texas on the night of February 12 – three days after the email exchange took place.
The mysterious death was seen as suspicious by many, including a former US Army intelligence officer who deemed the pillow found over Scalia’s head to be a warning.
Emails sent throughout the Clinton campaign on the day Scalia’s death was announced show the team debated on whether or not to address the issue, and what should be said if anything.
Former U.S. Senate staffer Brent Budowsky also emailed Podesta on the 13th, the day Scalia’s body was found, suggesting a replacement for the late judge.
Others have pointed out there is a vineyard located right on the Cibolo Creek Ranch property, the site where the judge’s body was found.
Other sites have explained that the highlighted phrase in the email, wet works (also wetwork, wet job), is spy lingo for “assassination.” But as even Infowars concedes:
Without additional context, it’s almost impossible to tell what use of the term “wet works” in the email refers to.
Is it possible that the Clintons arranged the death of a U.S. Supreme Court justice? I suppose anything is possible, though discussing the plan via email would seem fairly foolhardy.
My recommendation is to wait for the facts to come out. Whether you consider Julian Assange a hero or a traitor, his actions justifiable or not, he has promised a steady stream of hacked email leaks right up through Election Day. If a smoking gun does emerge, we will all know it when we see it.