It started with a simple comment on Facebook. Normally, I try to avoid the comments on certain types of controversial posts or stories (i.e., anything that has to do with refugees or ABC’s “Scandal” spoilers—you people always ruin it for me!) because I know that the likelihood of someone saying something foolish is high. Even when I do venture a glance, I never really engage or reply for a couple of reasons. First, I may be completely ignorant of the topic at hand, and I am the first to admit when I am not up to speed on something.

Second, if the comment is especially ignorant (I am talking grossly misinformed, hateful, racist, etc.), my first instinct is to track the poster down at their home and, as my grandfather used to say, “lay a beatin’ on ‘em.” I’m then forced to count to 10, have a sip of soul-soothing chai tea, and continue to gaze out at the vast Tibetan steppes and ponder the true meaning of life.

But recently, someone posted a comment that stuck with me. It was a simple one that dealt with the recent death of 30-year Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. It read (verbatim):

They found Scalia with a pillow over his head and a needle mark in his leg. Give me a break—the pillow was used to keep him quiet while they shot him with a heart-attack venom. The man was murdered, no question, and all fingers point to this administration.

Again, count to 10, drink my tea. But as implausible as it is to me (and I will explain my reasoning why, later) it also stuck with me because of the significance of the alleged act and the recent anniversary of another one along quite similar lines.

In 1997, the government of Israel sanctioned the assassination of Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal. Mashaal had been living in Jordan since 1991, and became Hamas’s chairman in 1996. Under orders from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s national intelligence agency, Mossad (the Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations), formulated a plan to carry out the hit. The attack was to serve as retaliation for the bombing of the Mahane Yehuda Market, which killed 16 civilians (including the two suicide bombers) and injured 178. Mashaal, at the time the chief of the group’s Jordanian branch, was seen as viable target. Israel alleged that King Hussein of Jordan had been ignoring its requests to expel Hamas operatives from his country, instead assuring them that it was better to keep them where they could be closely observed by his Mukhabarat intelligence services, so Netanyahu decided to act independently.Absurd allegations of a White House-ordered hit on late Supreme Court Justice Scalia continue

Because Israel and Jordan had only made formal peace three years earlier, it was agreed that any operation conducted inside Jordan would have to dispense with the traditional “Hellfire missile in your face” tactics that struck fear into the heart of their enemies, instead using something more quiet and deniable. The team would consist of six agents, two to make the hit and the remaining four in support roles. At least two flew into the capital of Amman on Canadian passports. In a later interview with BBC News, Mishka Ben David, one of the Mossad agents relegated to a support role, recalled that the strike team followed their target for days, but it was not until September 25 that an opportunity presented itself to execute.

In theory, the plan was simple. Isolate Mashaal from his security detail, and then inject him with a chemically modified toxin called levofentanyl, which would simulate a heart attack. In the ensuing chaos, the Mossad agents would slip away, and Mashaal’s death would remain a deniable operation. To this point, Israel had been largely successful in bringing the fight to those she deemed terrorists or those who supported them. Mossad was (and is) one of the world’s leading intelligence services, but today, fortune was not on their side. What followed would almost be comical if there was not so much at stake.