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Political Leaders Duped by Lee Harvey Oswald Hoax

Christopher Frawley Christopher Frawley
1st June 2021
Political Leaders Duped by Lee Harvey Oswald Hoax
Users thought the photo was of someone's veteran grandfather (Getty Images).

The Claim

Thinking they were honoring someone’s veteran grandfather, several high profile political figures unwittingly shared a picture of John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.

Emerging story

This Memorial Day, Twitter user Ken Klippenstein separately tagged several high profile political figures including Dinesh D’Souza, Matt Gaetz, and Matt Schlapp asking for a retweet. “My grandpa's a big fan of yours and is a veteran, he would be thrilled if you could RT this photo of him for Memorial Day,” Klippenstein posted. “Here he is as a young Private First Class.” It was accompanied by a photograph of a young Lee Harvey Oswald wearing his military uniform. Gaetz, D'Souza, and Schlapp obliged in the retweet, without confirming who was actually pictured.

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Misbar’s Analysis

Klippenstein is an investigative reporter who focuses on national security. After he succeeded in his prank, social media users across the internet quickly noticed that the man in the pictures was Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of President John F. Kennedy. 

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Oswald in his marine uniform (Getty Images).

Needless to say, none of Klippenstein’s marks were pleased to be duped. All have since deleted their retweets. However, trying to remove something from the internet is like trying to empty out an ocean with a bucket, and screenshots were taken of each retweet. Klippenstein also managed to momentarily change his own username to “matt gaetz is a pedo,” which showed up in Gaetz’s retweet. 

Conservative spokeswoman Candace Owens appeared particularly angered by the trick, responding to Klippenstein, “It is not ‘political correctness’ to have a soul and a modicum of decency. Reminder: These men DIED— the majority of them on foreign soil—so that you could be free. You do not photoshop murderers into their uniforms so that you can have a laugh.” Despite her claim, the image was not photoshopped. She may have been unaware that Lee Harvey Oswald was indeed a member of the U.S. Marines. Klippenstein’s response: “I for one believe in free speech.”

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This is not the first time Klippenstein has deceived popular Twitter users, it is not even the first time he has used the fake-veteran-relative hoax. Two years ago he convinced Representative Steve King to retweet a picture of Klippenstein’s supposed “Uncle,” Col. Nathan Jessup. Rep. King was apparently unaware that Col. Nathan Jessup was actually a fictional character from the 1992 film “A Few Good Men.” Not one of Klippenstein’s recent targets were aware of this ruse until after their gaffes were seen by thousands of Twitter users. 

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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