AN EVOLVING STORY?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Oct. 24, 2015) — On June 12, 2008, the website “The Daily KOS” released what it said was “Obama’s birth certificate,” perhaps in response to Internet speculation that Obama was born outside of the United States and therefore could not be considered a “natural born citizen” as required for the presidency in Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution.
Speculation may have been fueled by the claim made by MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews on December 18, 2007 that Obama was “born in Indonesia.” Additionally, various African news sources had reported at the time of Obama’s U.S. Senate campaign that he was a native of Kenya, as did Obama’s former literary agent in an official biography.
The agent, Acton & Dystel, reported that Obama was “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii” until April 2007, when the biography was changed to say that he was born in Hawaii.
Directly after KOS posted the birth certificate image, various websites such as Politifact and Factcheck.org published what might have appeared to be investigative articles on the image’s origins and authenticity.
On June 13, 2008, Amy Hollyfield of Politifact and The St. Petersburg Times (FL) reported that she had received the image in an email from then-Obama campaign staffer Tommy Vietor.
Vietor left his position as Obama’s National Security Council spokesman in 2013.
At the time, Hollyfield wrote that Vietor attached the image to an email in which he reportedly said, “I know there have been some rumors spreading about Obama’s citizenship, so I wanted to make sure you all had a copy of his birth certificate.”
Hollyfield did not reveal the actual email. However, she stated that in order to obtain assurance that the image was authentic, she contacted Hawaii Department of Health spokeswoman Janice Okubo and received the response, “It’s a valid Hawaii state birth certificate.”
Hollyfield also reported that Okubo stated that “a copy of the birth certificate was requested in June 2008,” which would have been within the 12 days preceding Hollyfield’s report.
When the White House released what it said was a scan of a certified copy of Obama’s long-form birth certificate on April 27, 2011, it also posted a black-and-white image which appeared to be a replication of the Certification of Live Birth (COLB). Neither the White House version nor the Politifact version of the COLB appeared to contain an official seal of the state of Hawaii.
On June 24, 2008, Reuven Koret of the now-defunct Israel Insider reported that he, too, contacted Okubo about the image released by KOS, receiving a quite different response from Okubo, which Koret reported as “At this time there are no circumstances in which the State of Hawaii Department of Health would issue a birth certification or certification of live birth only electronically. In the State of Hawaii all certified copies of certificates of live birth have the embossed seal and registrar signature on the back of the document.”
Politifact and Factcheck.org affirmed the authenticity of the Obama Certification of Live Birth “document.” In a July 28, 2009 article, Politifact writer Robert Farley described Factcheck employees researching the Obama birth certificate as “our friends.”
Farley criticized an Obama campaign advertisement released in January 2012 as Obama sought re-election as “misleading.”
On June 24, 2008, Koret reported of the COLB:
The image, purporting to come from the Hawaii Department of Health, has been the subject of intense skepticism in the blogosphere in the past two weeks. But now the senior spokesman of that Department has confirmed to Israel Insider what are the required features of a certified birth document — features that Obama’s purported “birth certificate” clearly lack.
Who is the “senior spokesman” to whom Koret referred?
Farther down in his article, Koret displayed the Obama COLB and a Certification of Live Birth of a Patricia DeCosta which appeared to contain folds and a raised seal.
On April 27, 2011 then-White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer wrote that the Obama campaign had requested Obama’s birth certificate from the Hawaii Department of Health “in 2008,” which appears to agree with Okubo’s statement as quoted by Hollyfield. However, when The Post & Email wrote to current Hawaii Department of Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler in July to request, under Hawaii’s public records law, a copy of the form utilized by Obama or a surrogate to request his short-form birth certificate as stated by Pfeiffer, the receipt we were provided by Registrar of Vital Statistics Dr. Alvin Onaka was dated May 30, 2007. All identifiers in the document were redacted, therefore showing no connection to any individual or organization.
Onaka sent the documentation by both email and the U.S. Postal Service along with an explanation that certain parts of our request did not exist and therefore could not be provided.
Koret further presented in his report:
The image became increasingly suspect with Israel Insider’s revelation that variations of the certificate image were posted on the Photobucket image aggregation website — including one listing the location of Obama’s birth as Antarctica, one with the certificate supposedly issued by the government of North Korea, and another including a purported photo of baby Barack — one of which has a “photo taken” time-stamp just two minutes before the article and accompanying image was posted on the left-wing Daily Kos blog.
That strongly suggests that Daily Kos obtained the image from Photobucket, not the State of Hawaii, the Obama family, or the Obama campaign. Photobucket is not generally known as a credible supplier of official vital records for any of the fifty states, and the liberties that other Photoshoppers took with the certificates confirms this.
Some of these oddities surfaced in Israel Insider’s previous article on the subject, but new comparative documentary evidence presented below, and official verification obtained by Israel Insider from a senior Hawaiian official, provides the strongest confirmation yet.
Who is the “senior Hawaiian official”?
On June 26, Koret provided an update to his research, stating, in part:
Janice Okubo, in response to an Israeli Insider question on Tuesday, would not confirm nor deny whether she had told a St. Petersburg Times reporter whether she had said the birth certificate was “real”, citing the statutory stipulation that “Hawaii state law (HRS §338-18) prevents disclosure of information contained in vital statistics records except to those people who have a direct and tangible interest in the record as defined by statute.” This would, however, seem to negate the propriety of any disclosure by her of confidential information.