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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

How Michael Flynn Went Down the Conspiracy Theory Rabbit Hole

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In recent years, the world has witnessed a surge in conspiracy theories fueled by the rapid dissemination of information through social media platforms. These theories often attract public figures who succumb to their allure, leading them down a dangerous path of misinformation and mistrust. One such example is the case of Michael Flynn, a former United States National Security Advisor, who fell victim to the conspiracy theory rabbit hole. In this blog, we will explore the journey of Michael Flynn as he embraced and promoted conspiracy theories, ultimately impacting his career and reputation.

The Rise of Michael Flynn:

Michael Flynn, a retired Lieutenant General of the U.S. Army, had an impressive military career and gained recognition for his intelligence and expertise in intelligence operations. He served as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) from 2012 to 2014, but his tenure was cut short due to disagreements with the Obama administration. Following his retirement, Flynn became an outspoken critic of the government and found himself drawn to the world of conspiracy theories.

Embracing Conspiracy Theories:

  • Association with QAnon: Michael Flynn’s journey into the conspiracy theory rabbit hole began with his association with QAnon.
  • Support on social media: Flynn expressed support for QAnon through his active presence on social media platforms.
  • Sharing QAnon content: He shared QAnon-related content, further promoting and spreading the conspiracy theory.
  • Use of QAnon-related hashtags: Flynn used QAnon-related hashtags in his social media posts, aligning himself with the QAnon community.
  • Descent into conspiracy theories: This association with QAnon marked the beginning of Flynn’s descent into the world of conspiracy theories, setting the stage for further engagement and promotion of unfounded narratives.

“Lock Her Up” and Pizzagate:

Flynn’s involvement with conspiracy theories did not stop with QAnon. During the 2016 presidential campaign, he gained prominence for leading chants of “Lock her up!” referring to Hillary Clinton, insinuating that she deserved imprisonment. Additionally, Flynn amplified the debunked Pizzagate conspiracy theory, which claimed that a Washington, D.C. pizza restaurant was a front for a child sex trafficking ring involving prominent Democrats.

Flynn’s involvement in conspiracy theories had serious consequences. In 2017, he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russian officials, ultimately leading to his resignation as National Security Advisor after serving only 24 days in the role. Despite initially admitting guilt, Flynn later withdrew his plea and accused the FBI of misconduct, claiming he was coerced into making false statements.

Rehabilitation and Continued Influence:

Following his legal battles, Flynn became a rallying figure for conspiracy theorists and the far-right. He embraced his status as a victim of perceived government persecution and positioned himself as a fighter against the “deep state.” Flynn continued to make public appearances, sharing his views on conspiracy theories and promoting divisive narratives, further solidifying his association with fringe elements.

Additional FAQ’s

How did Michael Flynn’s association with conspiracy theories affect his career?

Michael Flynn’s association with conspiracy theories significantly impacted his career. It led to his resignation as National Security Advisor after serving only 24 days due to his guilty plea for lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russian officials. The legal troubles and controversies surrounding his involvement in conspiracy theories tarnished his reputation and credibility.

How did Michael Flynn become associated with QAnon?

Michael Flynn became associated with QAnon through his active presence on social media platforms. He supported the conspiracy theory by sharing QAnon-related content and using associated hashtags. Flynn’s association with QAnon aligned him with a community that believes in deep-state conspiracies and contributed to his journey down the conspiracy theory rabbit hole.

How did the “Lock her up” chant and the Pizzagate conspiracy theory impact Michael Flynn’s image?

The “Lock her up” chant, which Flynn led during the 2016 presidential campaign, and his amplification of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory hurt his image. These actions associated him with baseless allegations and unfounded accusations against political opponents, contributing to the perception that he was willing to embrace and promote unfounded conspiracy theories.

While Michael Flynn faced legal consequences, they were not directly related to his involvement in conspiracy theories. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russian officials. This led to his resignation as National Security Advisor. However, the later withdrawal of his guilty plea and accusations of FBI misconduct further added to the legal complexities surrounding his case.

How has Michael Flynn’s continued influence impacted conspiracy theory narratives?

Michael Flynn’s continued influence has perpetuated conspiracy theory narratives, particularly within fringe elements and the far-right. As a rallying figure for conspiracy theorists, he has provided a platform for these narratives to thrive. Flynn’s public appearances, where he shares his views and promotes divisive narratives. He contributed to the normalization and amplification of conspiracy theories, reinforcing the echo chambers in which they thrive.


The case of Michael Flynn serves as a cautionary tale of the dangers associated with conspiracy theories. Once a respected military figure, Flynn’s journey down the rabbit hole of misinformation and mistrust ultimately cost him his position and damaged his reputation. The rise of social media and the rapid spread of unverified information has made it easier for individuals to fall prey to conspiracy theories. It is essential to remain vigilant, critically evaluate information, and seek credible sources to counteract the lure of conspiratorial thinking. We hope to navigate the increasingly complex information landscape and safeguard against the detrimental effects of conspiracy theories through a commitment to truth and rationality.

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