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AZGOP’s senator of the year: 9/11 ‘never added up’ and was an ‘inside job’

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AZGOP’s senator of the year: 9/11 ‘never added up’ and was an ‘inside job’

Sep 12, 2023 | 7:33 pm ET
By Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
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AZGOP’s senator of the year: 9/11 ‘never added up’ and was an ‘inside job’
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Sen. Justine Wadsack, R-Tucson, in March 2023. Photo by Gage Skidmore (modified) | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

On the 22nd anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Tucson Republican state Sen. Justine Wadsack shared a fake transcript from United Flight 93 and liked multiple posts on social media alluding to the events of the day being a “false flag” and an “inside job.” 

“It was an inside job, a false flag, to steal Middle East oil,” read one post on the social media site X, formerly Twitter, that Wadsack liked. Another post that she liked said 9/11 was an “inside job” resulting in “millions” of deaths. 

She also liked a post by another user who claimed that “the villains (behind 9/11) are still in DC.” 

“I made the decision to NOT trust my government THAT day!” Wadsack said on Sept. 12 in a reply to someone alleging government involvement in the attacks. “It never added up. Still doesn’t, and now look at the state of thing. (sic)”

Wadsack was responding to a person who had commented on a post she published on 9/11 that is allegedly the transcript of a phone conversation between a 911 operator named Lisa Jefferson and United 93 passenger Todd Beamer. 

United 93 crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers fought the terrorists for control of the plane, but was believed to be intended to crash somewhere in Washington D.C.; everyone on board died in the crash. The transcript in Wadsack’s post, however, is a fabrication.    

Jefferson, the 911 operator, has said many times that the call between herself and Beamer was never recorded, even telling the FBI that she only took brief notes on a Post-it pad. The notes are currently in the possession of the FBI. Additionally, the transcript portrays Jefferson as telling Beamer about the other planes crashing, but she has said that she did not tell Beamer about the other attacks. 

“I wanted him to have hope, I wanted him to think he still had a chance,” Jefferson said in a 2011 CBS interview. In the transcript Wadsack posted online, Jefferson is said to have told Beamer “the World Trade Center is gone. Both of the towers have been destroyed.” 

Multiple X users responded to Wadsack and told her the transcript was inaccurate. The senator hid their replies to her post.

Wadsack also liked a post on X by a user who said they believed that the plane was shot down. 

“They shot this jet down, but (the transcript) was released to fuel young Americans to enlist, one of the greatest American propaganda campaigns ever,” the post liked by Wadsack says. 

There is no evidence that the plane was shot down or that 9/11 was an inside job. The 19 hijackers had been plotting the attack for some time and took advantage of security vulnerabilities to take the lives of 2,977 people. 

Wadsack did not respond to requests for comment about her expressions of support for conspiracy theories about the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil. About five hours after this story was initially published, she replied to an Arizona Mirror tweet and said she was being attacked for showing independent thought.

“Defund the Arizona Media ‘Thought Police’! Apparently, whenever we think for ourselves, we get smeared in their rag publications. … and today must have been a slow day at the AZ Mirror,” Wadsack wrote, falsely accusing the Mirror of being funded by Jewish billionaire philanthropist George Soros, a common antisemitic trope used by conservatives in response to media coverage they dislike. States Newsroom, the public charity that publishes the Mirror and other news organizations across the country, has not received any money from Soros or his foundation.

Wadsack also un-liked two of the tweets she liked the day before.

Last month, the Arizona Republican Party named Wadsack the “AZGOP’s Freshman Senator of the Year” for passing “pivotal” measures. An AZGOP spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment. Earlier this month, an effort by liberal critics to recall Wadsack failed to force her to stand for a new election.

Wadsack is not the only Arizona Senate Republican to hold such beliefs. 

Sen. Janae Shamp, R-Surprise, posted a number of conspiracy theories from QAnon and memes about the Sept. 11 attacks on the social media site Gab. In one post previously found by the Arizona Mirror, Shamp shared a photo and meme by a QAnon account that claimed the attacks were an “inside job” by former President George W. Bush and alluded to a debunked conspiracy theory about World Trade Center building 7. 

Both Shamp and Wadsack have embraced QAnon and have posted the popular QAnon catchphrase “WWG1WGA” on their social media pages. Wadsack has done so at least twice on her public social media account and Shamp frequently posted and engaged with QAnon along with the slogan on her now-defunct Parler and Gab accounts

More than a decade ago, the Arizona Senate was home to a different GOP senator who spread 9/11 conspiracy theories. Sen. Karen Johnson, from Mesa, asked for a reinvestigation into the attacks on a speech on the Senate floor and gave each of her colleagues a DVD featuring a short film promoting 9/11 conspiracies.

***UPDATE: This story has been updated to include comments Sen. Justine Wadsack posted on social media in response to the Arizona Mirror’s reporting.