CLAIM: American soldiers died during an operation to retrieve a server from a CIA facility in Frankfurt, Germany, that was hiding election data that proves fraud in the presidential election.
THE FACTS: Since early November, a conspiracy theory has been spreading that U.S. Army forces seized a server in Frankfurt storing data from the U.S. presidential election.
In the original version of the fictitious story, which The Associated Press debunked last month, the alleged server was owned by the election software company Scytl. Both the Army and Scytl confirmed that story was false.
In the latest iteration, the claim is that the CIA was part of a scheme to change votes for President Donald Trump to President-elect Joe Biden, and maintained a server with election data in a CIA facility in Frankfurt. A U.S. special forces unit allegedly raided the facility to seize the server from the CIA, and some soldiers died in the operation. Lt. General Thomas McInerney, who left the U.S. Air Force in 1994, made the claim during a phone interview with the online program Worldview Weekend. “The U.S. Army, the U.S. Special Forces Command, seized a server farm in Frankfurt, Germany because they were sending this data from those five states, or six states, through the internet to Spain and then into Frankfurt, Germany,” McInerney said in his remarks. He went on to claim there may have been casualties in the alleged raid. “I’ve heard that it didn’t go down without incident. I haven’t been able to verify it. I want to be careful in that. It’s just coming out. But I understand my initial report is that there were U.S. soldiers killed in that operation,” he said.
McInerney suggested that when attorney Sidney Powell announced she had evidence of fraud in the election and vowed to “release the Kraken” she was referring to the 305th Military Intelligence Battalion “because that’s the nickname.” He said that Army unit was his source of information and suggested they were selected “because the president could trust them.”
When asked about McInerney’s claims about an operation to seize servers from the CIA in Germany, a spokesperson for U.S. Army Special Operations Command and a spokesperson for the Army both told the AP, “The allegations are false.” The 305th Military Intelligence Battalion that McInerney cited is a unit based at Fort Huachuca in Arizona for new soldiers receiving entry-level training in military intelligence. In the days after McInerney’s interview aired, other false claims spread online. One said that five U.S. Army soldiers who died in a helicopter crash during a peacekeeping mission in Sinai, Egypt, on Nov. 12 were actually killed in Germany seizing the server. Others claimed that CIA Director Gina Haspel was injured or killed trying to guard the server at the CIA facility in Germany. The CIA confirmed the claims are false are false. “Well…this is the most absurd inquiry I’ve ever addressed, but I’m happy to tell you that Director Haspel is alive and well and at the office,” a CIA spokesperson told the AP in an email.
— Associated Press writer Jude Joffe-Block reported from Phoenix.