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Questions surround self-immolator Aaron Bushnell’s intelligence links and high security clearance
By Cassie B. // Feb 29, 2024

When Aaron Bushnell set himself on fire in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C. while shouting “free Palestine,” the 25-year-old was described as a U.S. airman. Wearing his military uniform, he identified himself as a member of the Air Force in a video that was streamed live on Twitch of the incident. However, a lot more has emerged about him since his dramatic suicide on Sunday, and questions are swirling around his U.S. intelligence work and his security clearance.

Bushnell, who said “I will no longer be complicit in genocide” before setting himself on fire, served in the Air Force’s 70th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing.

A friend who spoke to Bushnell said that he shared secret knowledge about American troops fighting in the Hamas tunnels of Gaza just hours before the incident.

The friend said that he discussed his “top-secret clearance” for military intelligence data, adding: “He told me on Saturday that we have troops in those tunnels, that it’s US soldiers participating in the killing.”

According to the friend, Bushnell said there were American troops on the ground killing numerous Palestinians. He said that he believes there could be truth to his claims because his job entailed processing intelligence data linked to the Gaza conflict.

“One of the things he told me is that coming across his desk … was the US military was involved in the genocides going on in Palestine,’’ the friend reiterated, adding that Bushnell sounded scared when discussing it. He described him as a calm and collected individual who did not seem likely to kill himself.

“There’s just too many things I don’t know, but I can tell you that the tone of his voice just had something in it that told me he was scared,’’ the friend added.

These claims fly in the face of statements made by the White House that American troops would not be on the ground in combatant roles in Gaza.

Bushnell followed left-wing extremist and antifa accounts on social media

Bushnell’s social media accounts indicate that he was a radical left-wing extremist. Some of his posts mocked the deaths of fellow servicemen, and he also had connections to antifa networks.

The Post Millennial took a deep dive into his post history before his social media posts were scrubbed and found that he supported the “Stop Cop City” movement, a violent far-left movement that is trying to stop a police training facility from being built in Atlanta. He also supported the vandalism of a state senator’s home who was targeted because he wanted to prevent minors from undergoing sex-change operations. In addition, he followed a number of left-wing extremist organizations online and even engaged with them in posts on Reddit.

Many are questioning how someone with connections to antifa terrorists could have obtained a security clearance. Senator Tom Cotton wrote to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin asking why an individual who “obviously harbored extreme, anti-American views” was allowed to serve and wondered whether his extreme views were known and ignored or never even picked up on by the Pentagon.

“You have made it a top priority to address ‘extremism’ amongst our total force, and this act of horrific violence—in support of a terrorist group—raises serious questions about how this individual was allowed to serve on active duty,” he wrote.

He also asked whether Bushnell had access to classified material or demonstrated “concerning behavior” before this incident.

There are still a lot of questions that need to be answered here, and although this initially seemed like a straightforward case of a mentally disturbed individual making a dramatic gesture, it is clear that there's a lot more to this story.

Sources for this article include:




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