- A claim that the CIA director had been hurt and captured in Germany spread in QAnon circles in late 2020.
- Sidney Powell called a DOD official and demanded a special ops rescue mission, a new book says.
- The CIA rubbished the theory at the time, saying Gina Haspel was safe in her office.
The former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell called a Pentagon official demanding a mission to save the CIA director last year, citing a false QAnon conspiracy theory, according to a new book.
In “Betrayal,” excerpts of which were published by ABC News, the journalist Jonathan Karl wrote that Powell phoned Ezra Cohen, a senior Department of Defense official, shortly after the 2020 election claiming that CIA Director Gina Haspel was in danger.
“Gina Haspel has been hurt and taken into custody in Germany,” Powell told Cohen on the call, according to Karl’s book. “You need to launch a special operations mission to get her.”
Powell was referring to a false theory spreading in QAnon circles which claimed Haspel had been injured and captured during a top secret CIA mission to steal a computer server belonging to a company named Scytl in Frankfurt. The theory claimed that Haspel had then been flown to Guantanamo Bay and “received a tribunal for treason.”
Powell believed the servers contained evidence showing that hundreds of thousands of US votes had been switched with rigged voting machines, and that Haspel set out to secure the servers so she could destroy the evidence, Karl wrote.
Powell, who has long referenced QAnon conspiracy theories, was axed from the Trump campaign’s legal team in mid-November 2020. The journalist Maggie Haberman reported one Trump advisor saying at the time that it was because “she was too conspiratorial even for him.”
According to Karl, Cohen “thought Powell sounded out of her mind” and immediately informed the acting US defense secretary of the call. That official at the time was Chris Miller.
There is no evidence to support the theory and, in a statement to Reuters in December 2020, CIA spokesperson Nicole de Haay said the theory was “the most absurd inquiry I’ve ever addressed.”
“I’m happy to tell you that Director Haspel is alive and well and at the office,” de Haay said.
Powell did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
In “Betrayal,” Karl also wrote that Powell and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who previously employed Powell as his attorney, tried to enlist Cohen to help them overturn the 2020 election, ABC News reported. Cohen responded by telling Flynn: “Sir, the election is over,” Karl reported.