On Thursday, writing for The Dispatch, John Scudero fact-checked a new conspiracy theory that purports to prove that the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was a false flag.
"One viral claim suggests that the Capitol’s rotunda doors had to be opened by someone 'on the inside,' as strict security measures (and apparently the weight of the doors) prevented them from being opened any other way," wrote Scudero. Specifically, the claim holds that the Rotunda doors "weigh 20,000 pounds" and are secured by a magnetic lock — all of which proves someone inside must have thrown the gates open for them.
According to Scudero, the claim seems to have originated with a former attorney who represented members of the Oath Keepers — a far-right paramilitary group whose leaders have been charged with seditious conspiracy for their role in the attack — which was then spread by the conspiracy theory paper, The Epoch Times.
"The attorney, Jonathon Moseley, who has since been disbarred, claimed that the doors weighed 20,000 pounds and were locked magnetically," wrote Scudero. "The conspiracy theory was further spread by The Gateway Pundit, another common source for fake news, conspiracy theories, and unsubstantiated information. Gateway Pundit cites a 'US Marine veteran who worked overseas at a US Embassy,' who is now a member of the Oath Keepers, and claims to have been present at the Capitol attack. The individual claimed that the doors themselves were 'electronically controlled [and] magnetically locked' from the inside and outside, requiring an insider’s special code to unlock them."
The only true element here is that the Columbus Doors on the exterior of the Capitol weigh 20,000 pounds — but there is a second set of doors beyond them that are far lighter, and there is no evidence they are locked magnetically.
Moreover, Scudero pointed out, there is video footage showing what really happened.
"Interior surveillance camera footage of the Columbus Doors during the breach, released by the Department of Justice earlier this year, shows a rioter who had already entered the Capitol from a breached window on the building’s west side pushing open the interior doors with little resistance, stopping only to receive instructions from fellow rioters on the floor above him," wrote Scudero. "The heavier bronze doors are already visibly open, with rioters packing the space between the two sets of doors. Video included in the Epoch Times article also shows the bronze doors open, with Capitol Police guarding the doors behind them before the rioters attacked them."
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