False reports posted on social media claim that CIA Director Gina Haspel has died — or else was injured and arrested during a raid on an agency building overseas.
The fake news — which appears to involve QAnon conspiracy theorists — began circulating this week on platforms including Facebook, Twitter and 8kun, formerly 8chan, according to a Friday report from Reuters.
In one version of the purported events, Haspel was “Found Dead from ‘Natural Causes,’” with the information “going viral in gov circles but there is currently a strict news blackout.”
Another, more elaborate account — in which her name is misspelled “Hasple” — claims the spy chief “was arrested after she was injured in the Frankfurt Germany CIA building raid to secure the servers.”
That version apparently built on a previously debunked conspiracy that the US military had seized computer gear from the electronic voting company Scytl, which has said it was never raided and doesn’t have any offices in Germany.
The CIA told Reuters that there was no truth to any of the claims regarding Haspel.
“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,” agency spokesperson Nicole de Haay said.