Skip to comments.Inconsistencies abound in FactCheck report on Obama "birth certificate"
Posted on 08/24/2008 8:10:04 AM PDT by pissant
The Annenberg Political Factcheck website has published photographs and an analysis of what it says is the "original birth certificate" of Barack Hussein Obama II. While the physical document depicted in the photos resemble the document image previously scanned and published by the Daily Kos website and Obama's own "Fight the Smears" site in June, FactCheck's case for authenticity and its claims to objectivity are undermined by a litany of process flaws, conflicts of interest and factual inconsistencies that raise doubts about its motives and methods of those of the Obama campaign.
The Factcheck.org report, titled "Born in the USA," accompanied by an image of the Bruce Springsteen album cover, starts:
In June, the Obama campaign released a digitally scanned image of his birth certificate to quell speculative charges that he might not be a natural-born citizen. But the image prompted more blog-based skepticism about the document's authenticity. And recently, author Jerome Corsi, whose book attacks Obama, said in a TV interview that the birth certificate the campaign has is "fake."
We beg to differ. FactCheck.org staffers have now seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate. We conclude that it meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship. Claims that the document lacks a raised seal or a signature are false. We have posted high-resolution photographs of the document as "supporting documents" to this article. Our conclusion: Obama was born in the U.S.A. just as he has always said.
FactCheck claims that its staffers have "seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate" begs the question and obscures the truth. In fact, the article later goes on to make clear that this is in fact not "the original birth certificate" but "a 'certification of birth,' also known as a short-form birth certificate. The long form is drawn up by the hospital and includes additional information such as birth weight and parents' hometowns."
"The Hawaii Department of Health's birth record request form does not give the option to request a photocopy of your long-form birth certificate, but their short form has enough information to be acceptable to the State Department. We tried to ask the Hawaii DOH why they only offer the short form, among other questions, but they have not given a response."
This would seem to suggest that Factcheck went through the process of requesting the birth certificate (after all, why else reproduce and link the request form?), but no -- it turns out that they had a special invitation to visit the birth certificate at its residence, as if they were visiting some long lost relatives or a reclusive celebrity:
"Recently FactCheck representatives got a chance to spend some time with the birth certificate, and we can attest to the fact that it is real and three-dimensional and resides at the Obama headquarters in Chicago."
For an organization that claims to be fastidious with the facts, the sentence is vague and overly cute. Who made the invitation to "spend some time with the certificate"? How exactly did it happen that they "got a chance"? Did FactCheck approach the Obama Campaign or did the Obama Campaign approach FactCheck? And what are the forensic analysis credentials of the FactCheck staff that allows them to conclude definitively that the birth certificate is real and original?
And when is "recently"? The controversy over the birth certificate has been raging for ten weeks. Was it coincidental that it would emerge right after Obama returned from his "vacation" in Hawaii? The claim of "recently" is thrown into further doubt by the revelation that embedded date information in the photographs indicates that the photos were taken nearly a half year ago.
Factcheck.org posted 9 photographs of what it claimed were different aspects of Obama's "Certificate of Live Birth", all in less than optimal and idiosyncratic lighting conditions. All of them were taken over a less than seven minute period on March 12, 2008 from 10:40:18 to 10:47:02 at night.
No wonder FactCheck sufficed left it a vague "spend some time" when the duration of the entire photography session took 6 minutes and 44 seconds. Talk about: "Wham, bam, thank you, Obama!" Does that sound like a serious and thorough examination to
FactCheck will need to explain these hard chronological facts, which can be verified from the published photos by anyone with an EXIF reading tool, publically available on the net and as part of graphics software.
If the embedded graphical information is correct, it means that FactCheck is lying about doing the photo session "recently" and may be lying about much more, since it would be implausible that "FactCheck" was even checking facts about the birth certificate in March 2008.
Factcheck may try to argue that the photographer "forgot" to set the correct time. But that would further illuminate the shoddy level of professionalism in disregarding the need for exact documentation of the date, a carelessness echoed in the introductory remarks of its article ("recently" is not a fact, especially when it is not clearly associated with the location of the photo shoot ? where the documents "reside" is hardly the same thing). If so, FactCheck would also need to show some other published photos published with the same camera that show an identical offset between the camera's time and the real time.
Exactly for such reasons -- the lack of professionalism, exactitude and transparency concerning the provenance of this paper and the circumstances of the photographic session -- the reasonable demand from the skeptics -- who were initially made suspicious by the fact that the purported certificate image was published first (initially in relatively low resolution and only later in high resolution) in the far-left partisan Daily Kos blog -- has always been that the paper certificate must be subjected to the scrutiny of objective media or document forensics specialists, and mainstream journalists who can ask the hard question not just about this document image or that document image but examine it for themselves and query Obama himself about the many lingering mysteries and evasions in this whole affair.
It is striking, too, that Newsweek reprints the FactCheck report under the organizational byline without the minimal scrutiny that one would expect from a serious news magazine. In effect it is an advertorial serving the interests of the Obama campaign, not an objective piece of journalist.
FactCheck itself, as a project primarily funded by the Annenberg Foundation, hardly fits the bill of being a disinterested party, especially given Obama's four year stint as founding chair of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, currently being investigated due to its massive withholding of papers which document the catestrophic failure of the project, including public funds wasted under Obama's leadership, and his relations in that project with former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers.
Most curious, too, is the apparent lack of curiosity of FactCheck in pursuing the original "long-form" birth certificate that was supposedly used as the basis for the short form. After all, Barack Obama refers explicitly to possessing this document in "Dreams from My Father". Since FactCheck apparently has sufficiently close relations with the Obama teams to merit the exclusive privilege of being invited to "spend some time" (or at least 6 minutes and 44 seconds) with the reclusive short-form, one might think that if they were really interested in checking facts or examining original records they would doggedly pursue the paper source document -- the real thing from 47 years ago, not something cleaned and extracted from a database and thus subject to all kinds of potential revision and redaction.
Rather than asking the hard questions of Obama himself, or even the Obama campaign, or even requesting additional documents from the State of Hawaii in the public interest (they said they "tried" to ask about the long form but failed to get an answer), FactCheck falls back on the rather lame claim that the short form has "enough information to be acceptable to the State Department" and goes so far as to include a footnote linking to the State Department's Passport application requirements.
But isn't that bar set a bit too low for the man who wants to be President, especially as you can be a citizen without being natural born, especially when there are multiple reports coming from Kenya -- including several from Obama's own relatives -- that he was actually born in Kenya and came to Hawaii only days after birth, apparently at his mother's insistence that he would be recorded as being born in the USA? Apparently not too low for FactCheck. From their report it would appear that they are not interested or, perhaps more correctly, conflicted in their interests.
The photographs themselves of course superficially resemble what a real short-form certificate should look like, although it is impossible to ascertain from a series of jpg images. Remarkably, for an organization which purports to be dedicated to checking facts, no high resolution of the document's two sides was made so that professionals could compare that scan with the scan previously published in the Daily Kos. The Obama headquarters has no scanner? FactCheck has no scanner? Only a Canon Powershot 570 with an unset date? Or perhaps they were granted a mere six minutes and 44 seconds and had no time for a scan.
Comparing the high resolution Daily Kos scan (as opposed to the scan originally published) with the FactCheck photos, there are obvious and dramatic differences. The scan shows only the thinnest of fold marks at the top and none below, no seal and no signature block. Oddly, only the June 6, 2007 date stamp is visible. Only after extreme manipulations of the Daily Kos image did some graphic specialists managed to squeeze out the blurred and color enhance image of something that just might be a seal or a signature block. But even then, not in the correct size or expected location.
Those stark differences clearly validate the skepticism with which the scan was regarded by Israel Insider and others from the start. Why, then, did it take the campaign ten weeks to produce photos that show the missing seal, signature block and deep fold marks, so deep that they disrupt some letters and print of the seal? What changed between June 12 and August 21?
Then there is the issue of the redacted file number which for the last ten plus weeks has been blacked out . Here's the explanation that comes from the Obama campaign, according to FactCheck:
We asked the Obama campaign about the date stamp and the blacked-out certificate number. The certificate is stamped June 2007, because that's when Hawaii officials produced it for the campaign, which requested that document and "all the records we could get our hands on" according to spokesperson Shauna Daly. The campaign didn't release its copy until 2008, after speculation began to appear on the Internet questioning Obama's citizenship. The campaign then rushed to release the document, and the rush is responsible for the blacked-out certificate number. Says Shauna: "[We] couldn't get someone on the phone in Hawaii to tell us whether the number represented some secret information, and we erred on the side of blacking it out. Since then we've found out it's pretty irrelevant for the outside world."
That's odd. The "rush" to release the document? Who exactly was rushing them? The bloggers over at Daily Kos? Why was the Obama campaign in such a "rush" if there was no problem and no real pressure to produce. They couldn't wait another few hours or a day to talk to the Hawaii Health Department before rushing to print at the Daily Kos? And then, after the redacted document was up, they couldn't have replaced it with an unredacted image?
Only last week, the Honolulu Advertiser quoted Janice Okubo, Director of Communications in Hawaii's Department as Health, as saying that with the file number one could hack into the system. "Potentially, if you have that number, you could break into the system." Okubo seems on intent on defending the Obama campaign even if she admits that the image they presented as authentic lacked visible stamps and seals. "They responded and apparently it isn't good enough that he posted his birth certificate," Okubo said. "They say they want it because they claim he is not a citizen of the United States. It's pretty ridiculous."
So which is it? Is the file number irrelevant, as the campaign now claims, or is it a data that could be used to hack into the system, as Hawaii claims. If it is irrelevant, why is Janice Okubo providing excuses for the Obama campaign? If it is dangerous for data security, why is the Obama campaign ignoring that danger? And why does Okubo say it's "ridiculous" to be asking questions about the provenance of a vital record of a presidential candidate when the proffered proof clearly lacked the requisite stamps and signatures. Or did Obama's people and Okubo have a heart to heart between body surfing sessions at Waikiki?
Despite the points scored by the Obama campaign in gaining high level media coverage for a favorable puff piece, the FactCheck photospread -- revealing so much that the scan did not --unwittingly serves to validate the legitimacy of the probing questions and analyses that have been asked over the past two and a half months by Israel Insider and various bloggers, document examiners, and average citizens.
While the quality and consistency of the analyses of these amateur sleuths have been irregular, and have taken wrong turns on several occasions, shouldn't the burden of proof for documenting one's citizenship and producing the original vital records fall on the candidate and the legal authorities empowered for this purpose, not ordinary citizens disturbed by the lack of transparency of a presidential candidate and his arrogant unwillingness to produce documents expected of regular Americans?
The FactCheck report may have Obamatons humming "Born in the USA", but anyone serious about getting to the truth of Obama's constitutional qualifications will be disappointed by their casual and smug report. And they will expect more from a candidate who, like the protagonist in the opening lines of the Springsteen song, seems to "spend half [his] life just covering up."
The evidentiary and analytical shoddiness of the FactCheck report, both in terms of the dubious dating of the photos, the inexactitude in the circumstances of the shoot, apparent inconsistencies between the photos and the scan, and the failure to pursue the more significant, truly original, long form birth certificate, all point to the inadequacy of the proof presented to date to validate Obama's claim to being a "natural born" US citizen.
That question, it now seems, will need to be answered in federal court.
I have performed background checks on employee applicants. With what has been provided by the Obama campaign to this point, I would decline to hire him.
Seems to me that you should have to provide proof of your natural citizenship. The powers that be shouldn’t have to prove that you are NOT a natural born citizen. In other words, when I get a driver’s license, I don’t say to the Trooper, “you need to prove that I’m not a citizen”!!!
Well, this raises a number of legitimate concerns. Why is Obama stonewalling on releasing his real records, and then delegating leftist stooges like DailyKos and FactCheck to push the legitimacy of these evidently forged and completely uncertified records?
He has been stonewalling for months.
Could it be that he was born in Kenya, adopted by his stepfather and renamed Barak Soetoro, with Indonesian citizenship, gave up his American citizenship as required by Indonesian law, and never bothered to reapply for it during the required period between ages 19 and 21?
In other words, first he was a Kenyan citizen, then he was an Indonesian citizen, and at no time in his life has he ever been a legitimate American citizen?
If this is not the real story, then release the full birth records. PROVE it. What hospital was he born in? Where’s the hospital from with the baby’s footprint on it? Where’s the original official birth certificate? Where is the current COLB? Is there, in fact, a COLB available that predates Barry’s recent vacation in Hawaii, or did he change it again this year?
Being president of the United States is a serious business. It’s not an entitlement, it’s something you have to earn. Among other things, you have to respect and swear to uphold the Constitution and not shift, dodge, and lie about the most basic facts, such as whether you are eligible to run in the first place.
No sign of Larry on Factcheck? They’ve likely been told not to cover him.
Mr. Berg states there is evidence of a birth certificate for Obama in a Kenyan hospital.
Mr. Berg will need to produce that certificate and travel records to the court, or this suit will go nowhere.
Indeed. Larry's not even a "smear" - just being ignored wholesale by the drive-by media and Barry's campaign, but then I'd be redundant.
pinging me to read later
Because this is America where you are innocent until PROVEN guilty. He doesn’t have to show evidence of his innocence until someone shows evidence of his guilt, which has not happened.
If every politician had to defend himself against every stupid accusation, it would become a full time job.
Producing a forgery is a crime. It has been demonstrated quite well to be a forgery. The only question is how we can force it into the broader public consciousness without the help of BHO’s minions, better known as the media.
It has not been proven to be a forgery. That is a rumor that won’t die. The issue about a forgery is regarding a scanned image of the certificate. Factcheck held the actual certificate, not a scanned copy. It has the seal and the signature. If he were running around with a fake, the state of Hawaii would take issue.
Not rumours; hard analysis on the Kos/Obama posted image. Read and learn.
BTW, why would a relative newbie on FR be so suddenly interested in stopping FR from doing what it has always done: Investigate the malfeasance that the MSM ignores?
Even when I was a skeptic I simply said so and moved on. I certainly didn’t try to stand in the way of those doing the digging.
I’ve been following for a couple of days....Let’s see what Monday brings. I wish that someone will bring this out on prime time during convention.
Yeah, I don’t mind skepticism. It is most often well warranted. That is why I’m skeptical of new freepers that want everyone to ignore a particular issue that has the potential to not only pancake Obama’s chances for POTUS, but get him booted out of the Senate as well.
I just examined the impressed seals on my own families birth certificates, which are from PA and NJ. None of them have the sharpness of the impression of latest FactCheck certificate. They are all much less sharp.
It seems to me that the sharpness of the impression is something that will degrade -- round off and flatten with time and under varying storage conditions. Yet that the extreme sharpness of the impression of the FactCheck cert - and of the folds as well -- indicate that the paper cert in the FactCheck images is of very recent origin.
It seems to me that a thorough forensic analysis would note or include such factors as the sharpness of impressed stamps and folds, and have some baseline metrics made from similar paper over time, under varying storage conditions.
Another area what I imagine to to thorough forensic analysis is the relative ageing of the various inks and dyes used in any printing on paper.
Yet another (totally my fevered swamp imagination here), imagined forensic analysis would do an array analysis on any repeating patterns (such as letter "e", "O", "H" etc) so as to determine the wicking of ink into the paper, and thus be able to determine to some measure the type of ink used.
From that it should be easy to determine if the Cert ID Number (or any of the fields) is printed by the same printer as the rest of the document.
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