With Pipe Bomb Suspect in Custody, Here Come the Conspiracy Theories

“These stickers also look like they were printed yesterday.”


Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

As soon as federal authorities identified a suspect in connection to the pipe bombs that have been sent to prominent Democrats across the country, a familiar response kicked into gear.

Even as evidence emerged that the suspect, identified in media reports as Cesar Sayoc of Aventura, Florida, was a registered Republican with a lengthy criminal record, conspiracy theorists posited that he was a “patsy” commissioned by Democrats. Rabble rousers online quickly settled on a white van, which Florida news reports said had been surrounded by FBI agents on Friday, as an object of suspicion. (The van has not been officially connected to Sayoc.) 

Infowars, the conspiracy site owned and operated by conservative firebrand Alex Jones, published a breaking news post Friday that stated, “With perfect timing, eleven days from midterms, leftist media conveniently have their patsy driving a white van plastered with Republican stickers.” 

On his radio show, Jones, who is infamous for calling the mass shooting in Sandy Hook a “false flag” perpetrated by “crisis actors,” has been predicting for weeks that Democrats would engineer an attack and blame it on Republicans before the midterm elections. He has not provided any evidence for his theory. But as reports mounted this week of pipe bombs being sent around the country, right-wing social media accounts promoted the idea that the apparent serial bombing had been ginned up by Democrats. That notion entered the mainstream with mentions from Rush Limbaugh on his radio show and from pro-Trump pundits on Fox News.  

Laura Loomer, a right-wing provocateur who previously worked for Project Veritas, the organization that conducts sting operations to embarrass journalists suspected of liberal bias, echoed the same sentiment in a tweet claiming that the stickers on the van “look like they were printed yesterday.” 

This article is developing and will be updated as more information emerges. 


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend