Conspiracy Theorists Say Obama Engineered Hurricane Sandy

HAARP is a program funded by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force that studies the upper atmosphere.

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As Hurricane Sandy blasts the eastern seaboard just over a week before Election Day, a number of conspiracy theorists have decided President Barack Obama engineered the mega-storm to secure his re-election.

InfoWars.com, TheIntelHub.com, and ConsfearacyNewz all posted stories over the last several days alleging that the The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, or HAARP, helped the president engineer Sandy.

[GALLERY: Superstorm Bring Dangerous Floods]

HAARP, a research program managed by the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy, studies and conducts experiments relating to the ionosphere, or upper atmosphere. As NASA explains on its web site, the ionosphere is important because it often reflects radio waves and scatters GPS signals, leading to "a big impact on communications and navigation" on Earth.

Because of this, conspiracy theorists have blamed HAARP for a number of natural events over the years, saying the government uses the Alaska-based program to manipulate the weather with the help of electromagnetic waves.

[GALLERY: Preparing for Frankenstorm]

On Friday, InfoWars published a story arguing that Sandy "will undoubtedly produce widespread chaos and present an ideal opportunity for Obama to come off as a strong and decisive leader."

"Following the 'perfect storm,'" wrote Infowars' Kurt Nimmo, "the establishment media will naturally provide all the propaganda Obama needs to sweep the election on Tuesday, November 6, a week after the hurricane is projected to hit."

As proof, Nimmo noted that HAARPStatus.com, a site that claims to detect frequency on the ionosphere, is reporting unprecedented levels of HAARP frequency above the Eastern coast. HAARPStatus.com appears to be a site not actually associated with HAARP.

[READ: Polling Storm Makes Waves as Sandy Bears Down]

In a piece on the nonprofit web site Skeptic.com in March 2010, aerospace and computer engineer David Naiditch explained why he believes conspiracy theorists love to blame HAARP. "[It] is a gigantic, high-energy, Pentagon-funded gizmo located in the remote Alaskan wilderness that plays around with the Earth's ionosphere," he wrote, "but whose purpose seems deeply mysterious to the scientifically uninformed."

While there is no doubt Hurricane Sandy could help Obama's re-election prospects if he manages to weather the storm acting presidential, the mega-storm's effects on Americans could also help challenger Mitt Romney. As Mike Allen noted in Politico Playbook Saturday, quoting a Politico friend: "People emerging from a week of no power on Nov. 6 are going to be in a grumpy, foul mood—not the kind of mood that screams 'vote incumbent.'"

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  • Elizabeth Flock is a staff writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook or reach her at eflock@usnews.com.