The Conspiracy Theory: Garbage in, garbage out


WASHINGTON, January 22, 2011–Conspiracy theorists thrive in the space in-between known and unknown. They breed in places where there are no answers, where things do not quite fit.

Conspiracy theory can entertain and amuse us; it also is generally quite creative and interesting. Sometimes, these way outside-the-box thinkers come up with ideas that prompt others to investigate and research and find truths.

Most of the time, however, conspiracy theory is the stuff of poor research, logical fallacies and huge leaps of faith.

Such is the case with the “Is the Loughner Mug Shot Fake” thread on  Loughner is the young man accused of 49 felonies on January 8, 2011, including the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords. The thread discussed, obviously, that the mug shot for Jared Lee Loughner is fake.

Part of the thread alleges that the CIA, not Loughner, is somehow responsible for the shooting.

Aside from the pure lack of originality in the theory, the “research” is full of enormous holes and faulty reasoning.

My favorite part, however, is the thread that puts me squarely in the middle of the tangled web of intrigue. That’s right; the writers of the thread concluded that I am proof of the CIA’s involvement in the Giffords shooting.

Here’s how the lack-o’-logic goes:

  • The thread notes that Suzi Hileman, one of the individuals shot in Tuscon, “is alleged to have written” a post about “gun-oriented political rallies.”  Well, first of all..”alleged to have written?”  By who?  Where?
  • The post then says, “In one of the first news stories that broke, it said that Susan Hileman was a co-owner of a firm called C2 Research LLC in Florida. I can no longer find this news story, it is completely gone from any Google search, but I would swear on my life that’s what I read.”

If you can’t find the news story tying Ms. Hileman to C2 Research, it is hard to comment.

However, you can research both Ms. Hileman and C2 Research, LLC. There is no connection.  No Hileman on corporate docs, publicly available through the Florida Secretary of State, no mention of Hileman on the web site, no mention of C2 in any stories about Hileman before or after the shooting of any kind.

C2 Research, LLC is a Florida company. Ms. Hileman was in Tuscon. The only link between Ms. Hileman and C2 Research is the conspiracy posting, which was then re-printed in other places.

Circular reasoning at its best.

The clever researchers then look at the C2 web site.  As they say, “The website has no content.” Sorry. We have been busy with other projects. We will get around to it.  Really. Sometime.

But the other co-owner is Lisa Ruth, author of this: 

Post: Why did Jared Loughner do it ?

Cited as a features kind of reporter on restaurants, culture, and life in general. Also a former CIA Analyst according to her bio. Also the author of things like this:

Post: Can Strong DNI Save the Intelligence Community ?”

That is all true. You can read my column, Life with Lisa. The wording “The other co-owner” is a bit puzzling, though. “Other” as in “other than Susan Hileman who has no relationship whatsoever to the company?”

So, all that proves that I was a CIA analyst (and officer!) who now writes “features” for the Communities.

The poster then goes on to say: “Contact for the website is Teri Rustmann. Operating as an officer of another West Palm Beach research firm with CIA ties called CTC:

Ties to CTC International

Lisa Ruth and Teri Rustmann are both officers of the AFIO:

Information about the AFIO

Well, really, that all provides nothing new.

As a former CIA officer, I am a member of AFIO, the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. Ms. Rustmann and I also edit the Weekly Intelligence Notes for AFIO.  You’re now probably saying, “Ah-ha!” Because we now have some very obvious information:

  • Susan Hileman has no ties to C2 Research, LLC, a Florida corporation owned by Lisa Ruth and Teri Rustmann;
  • C2 Research conducts research;
  • Both Lisa Ruth and Teri Rustmann formerly worked for the CIA, and are now members of AFIO.

The rather sad poster ends with, “This is making me sick. There is absolutely a tight CIA tie here and now, it seems, a coverup of the initial reporting. Please, please guys help me find the original report and keep doing your research.”

It’s making me sick, too.  After all, I am a researcher, and find it horrifying that anyone would fail so miserably in conducting strong research. I am also an analyst, and am highly irritated that lack of intellectual rigor guides so many people to make such really bad judgments.

Let me say this, for the record: I had nothing to do with the shootings in Tucson, and I find it highly insulting anyone would link me to something so incredibly horrible based on tenuous, poorly constructed research and analysis.

Is this the best conspiracy theorists can do?

The good news in all this is that I finally have an explanation about one thing: my 12-year-old obviously was trained by the CIA in-utero, then placed as a mole in a Catholic school to further the Planned Parenthood agenda and push the envelope on free speech. Finally, some answers.


Lisa has an undergraduate degree in International Relations from George Mason University and a graduate degree in Foreign Affairs from The University of Virginia.  She spent 11 years with the federal government.  She is part owner of a research and analysis company, C2 Research, LLC, which specializes in complex research and analysis.  Lisa is a senior analyst for LIGNET.COM, writing international political analysis.  She is also a freelance writer, contributing to Donne Tempo Magazine, and regularly contributes to the Wall Street Transcript.

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Lisa M. Ruth
Lisa M. Ruth is Editor-in-Chief of CDN. In addition to her editing and leadership duties, she also writes on international events, intelligence, and other topics. She has worked with CDN as a journalist since 2009. Lisa is also President of CTC International Group, Inc., a research and analysis firm in South Florida, providing actionable intelligence to decisionmakers. She started her career at the CIA, where she won several distinguished awards for her service. She holds an MA in international relations from the University of Virginia, and a BA in international relations from George Mason University. She also serves as Chairman of the Board of Horses Healing Hearts, and is involved with several other charitable organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, The Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and AYSO.