What Is the FEMA Camp Conspiracy Theory?

The FEMA camp conspiracy theory states that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been or is currently building concentration camps as part of a plan to round up and imprison American citizens. This plan has been attributed to a succession of presidential administrations, including George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

The FEMA camp conspiracy theory has been circulating in right-wing circles since the 1980s. Proponents insist that a mass imprisonment of American citizens by the federal government is eminent. The earliest claims have been traced back to a newsletter published by Posse Comitatus, a right-wing anti-Semitic group, in 1982. These early versions of the conspiracy attributed the plan to Ronald Reagan's administration. As of 2015, conspiracy proponents blame Obama.

Some pieces of evidence presented by conspiracy theorists have been proven to be hoaxes. For example, photographs of one purported camp in Wyoming were doctored satellite photos of a detention camp in North Korea. Another piece of purported evidence, claiming to be a federal stockpile of coffins, was actually a large number of unsold grave liners placed in storage in Georgia by their manufacturer, Vantage Products Corporation.