You may remember the right wing absolutely freaking out about pro-choice protesters allegedly bringing jars of urine and feces to throw at the Texas state capitol when the legislature was trying to pass harsh anti-choice legislation. “Police confiscate jars of suspected urine and feces,” screamed the headline at Glenn Beck’s The Blaze. And the Hot Air blog. And RedState. And the National Review. Turns out it was all nonsense:
What the documents show is that DPS collected and shared information, including rumors and off-hand Twitter remarks as well as Facebook postings, about pro-choice protesters during the showdown in the Senate in July. “Per Lt. Esquivel, rumors are out there saying that the orange women will be taking off their clothes, urinating and defecating in the Senate gallery today,” wrote Susan Fafrak, an analyst in the Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division of the Texas Fusion Center, in an email on Friday, July 12. “I am still searching form [sic] some sort of confirmation of this.”
Based on the documents released by DPS today, their hottest sources of intel are tweets from pro-life activists or Republican legislative staffers, or pro-choice protesters joking about the rumors’ absurdity. The documents suggest a law enforcement agency joining in the echo chamber. We’re waiting for a response from DPS on what advantage closely monitoring social media accounts provided the agency, and other questions.
The documents also demonstrate that DPS director Steve McCraw was upset about press coverage questioning the lack of evidence that protesters had tried to bring jars of feces and urine into the Senate. Internally, DPS was able to find just three photos of prohibited items—apparently of paint and bricks—but none of those suspected jars.
Text messages also circulated among DPS personnel on July 15th, three days after the explosive end to the debate over new abortion restrictions. “Were any of you aware of urine or feces take during our shakedowns?” asked a text message from an unknown sender.
The responses: “Just what DPS put out on Email” and “I never observed any.” And, “I was inside the Senate Gallery and did not see or hear of any of the above being taken.”
This was all used by the wingnuts to argue about how terribly evil those pro-choice people are. Will any of those news outlets and blogs now print a retraction?