The Guardian newspaper pulled a front-page National Security Agency story off its website Sunday after the story’s source was revealed to be an unqualified conspiracy theorist who believes that the September 11, 2001 attacks were a government operation and that President Barack Obama is secretly gay, The Telegraph reports.
The story, entitled, “Revealed: Secret European Deal to Hand Over Private Data to Americans,” was originally reported by The Guardian’s sister paper, The Observer.
The story relies on Wayne Madsen, an eccentric government critic and self-described former NSA agent. Madsen claimed that several European governments were “colluding with the U.S. over the mass harvesting of personal communications data.”
Among other controversial assertions, Madsen has previously alleged that the September 2000 attack on the USS Cole was a “false flag operation” and that Norwegian terrorist Anders Brevik was trained by Israeli intelligence agents.
The story drew widespread derision from journalists on Twitter, who questioned Madsen’s credibility.