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Catherine Thompson

Catherine Thompson is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. Before joining TPM, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She is a graduate of New York University, where she served as the deputy managing editor of NYU's student newspaper, the Washington Square News. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Catherine

Politicians across the country jockeyed to get a piece of the "Jade Helm 15" action after Gov. Greg Abbott (R) asked the State Guard to monitor the planned U.S. military training exercise. Texans waded into the fever swamp of conspiracy theories surrounding the training exercise in recent weeks and took some of their elected representatives along for the ride.

But what's lost in all that noise is the training exercise itself: how service members plan to execute it and what the military aims to accomplish.

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The Pentagon has no plans to stage a military takeover of the Lone Star state. There are no tunnels covertly being constructed under West Texas' shuttered Wal-Mart stores.

So why are the fringes of the Internet still abuzz with rumors that the U.S. military is on the cusp of imposing martial law in "hostile" Texas under the guise of a training exercise dubbed "Jade Helm 15"?

Representatives of the military and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R), whose state is expected to host part of the planned training exercise, have sought to tamp down speculation that "Jade Helm 15" is anything other than a standard training exercise.

But a slew of other influential figures in conservative circles have either deliberately or inadvertently given credence to those who buy into the wild conspiracy theories surrounding the upcoming exercise.

Here's a look at who's been stoking the fire:

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Tuesday welcomed the prospect of being subpoenaed in a criminal case against two of his former allies accused of directing lane closures on the George Washington Bridge to punish a politician who refused to endorse the governor's re-election effort.

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