Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) once suggested the United States government was behind a series of domestic bombings in the 1970s.
Sanders began his 1976 Vermont gubernatorial campaign on the Liberty Union Ticket by implying the government was behind some domestic terrorist bombings for political purposes, the Daily Caller reports.
The Bennington Banner, a Vermont newspaper, reported that Sanders "coupled the announcement with a disavowal of terrorist bombings and a charge that many such incidents may be instigated by government agencies to undermine legitimate efforts to bring about change."
Two days prior to launching his campaign, eight letter bombs were sent to corporations in several cities, prompting law enforcement to arrest Leon Cordell Horton and Ardis Odell Reed several years later. Both men were found guilty for what prosecutors said was an attempt to extort money from the corporations.
The story in the Banner "made clear the letter bombs and similar domestic attacks were the attacks to which Sanders and [lieutenant governor candidate John] Franco reportedly referred as potentially orchestrated by the U.S. government," the Daily Caller notes.
Both candidates denounced the "wave of letter bombings aimed at large corporations," calling such terrorism "counterproductive to changing the ‘system,' and charged that government agencies like the CIA may in fact be responsible," according to the Banner article.
"Anybody that thinks change is going to come because of bombings or terrorist activity is either extremely stupid, crazy or an agent of the U.S. government," Sanders reportedly said.
The Sanders campaign responded to the Daily Caller in an email.
"While [President] Donald Trump raves about a deep state coup and routinely invokes violence when discussing his political opponents, Senator Sanders is proud to have always supported peaceful political change," a spokeswoman wrote.
Sanders expressed paranoia about the U.S. government on other occasions in the 1970s.
In 1974, Sanders "called the CIA ‘a dangerous institution that has got to go,' saying the CIA is ‘responsible to nobody except a handful of right-wing lunatics and the big multinational corporate interests.'"
The Banner reported Sanders was "cheered at one point when he called for immediately disbanding of the CIA."