The QAnon phenomenon reverses the usual conspiracy theory mindset. This time, it’s the man on top who is the heroic victim and those out of power who are planning his demise. To ward against this, the president hunts those who belong to the “deep state,” a term so broad and vague that any disliked person can be labeled a member.
According to Skeptoid’s Brian Dunning, QAnon “began as a few random and childishly implausible posts on an obscure Internet message board” and “has grown into a very serious political movement.”
Q was only one of several anons – short for anonymous posters – who leveled libelous accusations at Hilary Clinton and other Democrats during the 2016 campaign and thereafter. Besides the charges, there were promises that Clinton and her cronies were destined for prison, Guantanamo Bay, or CIA black sites once Trump was in power. The posters claimed secret, elite knowledge owing to their high government positions. To state the obvious, none of the supposed promises have been fulfilled.
While QAnon is almost certainly fabricates his/her/their position, Q clearances do exist, and are the highest classification in the Department of Energy. It’s like Top Secret with a less cool descriptor.
The QAnon theory makes the usual warmongering and corruption charges against its enemies, but also accuses them of a novel insidiousness: A global child trafficking sex ring. These accusations are bolstered by breathless memes sounding the alarm about 800,000 children going missing each year. The implied message assumes that all these youngsters have been abducted by this roving band of Satanic pedophiles who vote Blue.
But while the number of missing children does tally about 800,000 a year, the overwhelming majority of these boys and girls are found safe. Further, those who are adducted have usually been taken by a noncustodial parent. There are also kidnappings perpetrated by those who have gained the family trust. Finally, in the least populated-category, are those who have been taken by strangers. And among those who pull off that despicable crime, none have been proven to be fueling a pedophile ring to satisfy liberal elites. There has never been a conviction associated with these supposed abductions, and never in a courtroom have we learned the name of a perpetrator, victim, or recipient. If there is a Satanic child-sex trafficking ring being run, the number of victims wouldn’t even number in the 10s, much less hundreds of thousands.
As to the person whose writings have stoked these ideas, there has been speculation that it is a Russian, a left-wing troll, or a right-winger trying to keep things stirred up and maintain a focus on defeating the Democrats. Or it could just be someone getting their kicks. What He/she/they almost certainly is not is a career government worker with the highest clearance who continually has access to the juiciest tidbits.
The NSA, CIA, and FBI have vast tools to root out such moles and that a person could elude this for four years strains credulity. One trick is to let a piece of putative information fall into the hands of the suspect – who thinks everyone with clearance has received it, when only he has – and then when he releases it, is busted. Beyond this, there are bugs and surveillance, and all manner of high-tech gizmos to find the culprit, especially with such a small pool of potential suspects, limited to those with the highest Energy Department clearance.
This person would be risking that clearance, along with their career and freedom, and would be taking actions wholly unbecoming of someone who had achieved this level clearance. Such persons would be highly unlikely to continually post highly-classified information for all to see.
Not everyone shares my skepticism. Dunning wrote that dozens of Congressional candidates have voiced support for the theory. One of the most fervent believers took a rifle into a pizza joint, trying to find a non-existent basement housing non-existent child trafficking victims. Another adherent blocked the Hoover Dam with an armored van in order to demand the release of information he believed Q had revealed. At least one murder has been committed by a QAnon supporter acting on his belief, while authorities thwarted a kidnapping attempt by still another deranged fan. Untold death threats have been lobbed at those who type disbelieving words such as these.
Still, there is a person or persons writing all this. QAnon writes in code, though that is hardly necessary when addressing an audience that sees pedophile messages in pizza and Wayfair ads.