In a post that has since been removed* from the American Spectator website, Patrick Howley, an assistant editor at the conservative publication, admitted to infiltrating a group of D.C. protesters this weekend. According to The Washington Post, in the since-deleted post, Howley “openly claims to have instigated the events” that caused a closure of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.
The Washington Post reported:
Patrick Howley, an assistant editor at the American Spectator, says that he joined the group under the pretense that he was a demonstrator. “As far as anyone knew I was part of this cause -- a cause that I had infiltrated the day before in order to mock and undermine in the pages of The American Spectator,” Howley wrote. (The language in the story has since been changed without explanation.)
A group called the October 11 movement had organized the march in order to protest the U.S. government's use of unmanned drones overseas, joined by a few members of the D.C. branch of the Occupy Wall Street movement, as the Post reported Saturday. Howley writes that a small number of protesters--himself included--had tried to move past the security guards at the main entrance of the museum. He says that one protester next to him got into a shoving match with a security guard in an antechamber before they hit the second set of doors that led to the museum itself. The guard pepper-sprayed the protester, spraying Howley as well.
But, according to his account, Howley was determined to escalate the protest further. “I wasn't giving up before I had my story,” he writes, describing how he continued to rush past security into the museum itself. “I strained to glance behind me at the dozens of protesters I was sure were backing me up, and then I got hit again, this time with a cold realization: I was the only one who had made it through the doors....So I was surprised to find myself a fugitive Saturday afternoon, stumbling around aircraft displays with just enough vision to keep tabs on my uniformed pursuers. 'The museum is now closed!'”
Howley, in fact, chides the protesters for not taking his lead and rushing into the museum after being pepper-sprayed. “In the absence of ideological uniformity, these protesters have no political power. Their only chance, as I saw it, was to push the envelope and go bold. But, if today's demonstration was any indicator, they don't have what it takes to even do that.”
UPDATE: Since this was post was published, the American Spectator piece has been returned to the website.