Conservative editor admits he infiltrated, instigated confrontation at Air and Space Museum

Demonstrators sit and lie on the ground outside the entrance to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington after being pepper-sprayed by guards Saturday. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Patrick Howley, Assistant Editor of The American Spectator, a conservative journal, has revealed online that he deliberately “infiltrated” the group protesting at the Air and Space Museum Saturday in order to discredit the protest group.

He says he forced his way into the museum and was the first to be pepper sprayed.

Several news outlets, including,,, the Washington Post, and the Daily Beast, have detailed Howley’s admitted involvement in the event.

After the news of the pepper spraying was reported, Howley published a “Breaking News” story with The American Spectator online. He said that “as far as anyone knew I was part of this cause — a cause that I had infiltrated the day before in order to mock and undermine in the pages of The American Spectator — and I wasn’t giving up before I had my story.”

Ezra Klein of the Washington Post notes that Howley’s article was taken down after it was published. published photos by photojournalist Cheryl Biren of Howley confronting a museum guard. Although Biren was wearing media /press identification badges, she was sprayed directly by a guard.

Howley wrote that the protesters “lack the nerve to confront authority. From estimates within the protest, only ten people were pepper-sprayed, and as far as I could tell I was the only one who got inside.”