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Fact check: Debunking conspiracy links between Nashville explosion, Dominion and AT&T

Social media users have been sharing content online that claims AT&T had a contract to do a forensic audit on Dominion Voting Systems machines and that the Dec. 25 explosion in Nashville, which damaged an AT&T building, was tied to this audit. These claims present no convincing evidence and include conspiracy links that have been debunked.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

Examples can be seen here , here and here .

Some shorter posts here and here say: “Wait, the bombing in Nashville was at the AT&T Data Center right after they got the contract to audit the Dominion Voting machines? That’s an interesting coincidence.”

Some posts read: “So, the explosion “just happened” to be at the AT&T location where they “just so happen” to control the cooling system for the super computer and house the dominion voting machines and drives for forensic audit...”

While the investigation is ongoing, the Federal Bureau of Investigation concluded that a man named Anthony Warner was responsible for the bombing and was killed in the blast ( here , here ).

The explosion in the heart of Nashville injured three people and damaged businesses including an AT&T switching center, disrupting mobile, internet and TV services across central Tennessee and parts of four other states (here).

AT&T AND DOMINION

The posts all tie AT&T with Dominion, holding the explosion to be alleged proof of conspiracy. Some just say AT&T had a contract to conduct a forensic audit on Dominion Voting Systems. Others add that the explosion took place as the voting machines were being moved to Nashville and provide political links as proof of a conspiracy. The post provides no links to evidence for their allegations.

A spokesperson for Dominion Voting Systems told Reuters via email: “Dominion calls on the media and the public to reject the baseless rumors circulating on social media, which suggest without evidence that there was some election-related connection to the Nashville explosion.”

“Americans should continue to seek information from verifiable, trusted sources, such as law enforcement authorities,” Dominion Voting Systems added.

AT&T BUILDING

There is no evidence that the AT&T switching center damaged by the explosion (here) housed a “supercomputer” being used to alter the election’s outcome. 

Jim Greer, Assistant Vice President of Corporate Communications at AT&T, told Reuters via email: “None of the things in the post are true.”

WILLIAM KENNERD AND AT&T

Some of the posts (here) try connect the explosion to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama by claiming that William Kennard, Obama’s EU ambassador and Clinton’s FCC chair, is on AT&T’s board and owns the Nashville AT&T building that was destroyed in the blast.

While Kennard served at the FCC and as EU ambassador and he joined AT&T’s board of directors as Chairman in Nov. 2020 (here), Greer confirmed Kennard is not “the former owner” of the AT&T building that was destroyed in Nashville, as the posts claim.

It is true Kennard serves on the board of Staple Street Capital (not “Staple Street execs” as the posts say). He also serves on the boards of Ford Motor Company, MetLife and Duke Energy Corporation (here).

CEREBRUS, STAPLE STREET AND THE BIDENS

Some of the posts (here) say: “Dominion voting is owned by Cerberus Capital Management.... Cerberus is run by Staple Street Execs. Joe Biden’s Brother in Law, Steven Owens, is the cofounder of Staple Street Execs along with William Kennard (mentioned above).”

Reuters found no evidence that Cerberus Capital Management (www.cerberus.com/) owns Dominion. One of the co-founders of Staple Street Capital (staplestreetcapital.com/ ), not “Staple Street execs”, Hootan Yaghoobzadeh, worked at Cerberus prior to starting Staple Street in 2009 (here).

Staple Street Capital has a managing director and co-founder named Stephen Owens. However, he is not tied to Joe Biden and is not his sister Valerie Biden Owens’ husband. Reuters Fact Check previously debunked this claim here .

Staple Street Capital took part in a deal with management to acquire Dominion in 2018 (here and here). A spokesperson for Dominion Voting Systems confirmed to Reuters via email that the Stephen Owens at Staple Street has no family ties or business affiliations with Biden’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens.

While William Kennard serves on Staple Street Capital’s board, he is not one of the company’s co-founders as these posts claim (here).

“KRAKEN”

The post also mentions the “Kraken” or “supercomputer” and says that the cooling system for this computer was located in the AT&T building. This references the claim that supercomputer “Hammer” and software program “Scorecard” were used to change votes in Biden’s favor in the 2020 Presidential election. ( here and here )

This conspiracy theory has been debunked by various experts as reported by Reuters here and other fact checkers including Snopes, Factcheck.org and PolitiFact here , here and here .

The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has dismissed the claim of an “election hacking and vote manipulation operation” known as “Hammer and Scorecard.” (here)

MISSILE

Some posts have said the Nashville explosion was caused by a missile. Reuters debunked this claim here .

VERDICT

False. Posts include debunked conspiracy claims attempting to tie the Nashville explosion Dominion voting systems.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .         

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