Pres­i­dent’s birth certificate may be a fake, says sher­iff in Ari­zona

The Washington Times Daily - - Politics - BY STEPHEN DINAN

PHOENIX Armed with a new 10page re­port he com­mis­sioned, Mari­copa County Sher­iff Joe Ar­paio said Thurs­day he sus­pects the birth certificate Pres­i­dent Obama re­leased last year is a “com­puter-gen­er­ated forgery” — and also raised ques­tions about the au­then­tic­ity of the pres­i­dent’s se­lec­tive ser­vice reg­is­tra­tion card.

In an ex­ten­sive — and at times com­bat­ive — press con­fer­ence in Phoenix, Sher­iff Ar­paio re­peat­edly said he is not ques­tion­ing the pres­i­dent’s le­gal sta­tus un­der the Con­sti­tu­tion nor al­leg­ing fraud on Mr. Obama’s part, but did say there is ev­i­dence crimes have been com­mit­ted by some­one and his in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­tin­ues.

“Based on all of the ev­i­dence pre­sented and in­ves­ti­gated, I can­not in good faith re­port to you that these doc­u­ments are au­then­tic,” Sher­iff Ar­paio said. “My in­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieve that the long-form birth certificate was man­u­fac­tured elec­tron­i­cally and that it did not orig­i­nate in pa­per for­mat as claimed by the White House.”

He said he would like Congress to in­ves­ti­gate the mat­ter, but short of that, he has an obli­ga­tion to look into it be­cause of po­ten­tial vi­o­la­tions of Ari­zona’s laws.

The White House did not respond to a re­quest for com­ment Thurs­day.

Ques­tions about Mr. Obama’s birth certificate have been a po­lit­i­cal sideshow for the past four years, and have per­sisted de­spite re­peated de­nials by the White House and the re­lease of ev­i­dence he was born in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961. That ev­i­dence in­cluded both a certificate of live birth re­leased dur­ing the 2008 cam­paign and the long-form certificate last year.

Fact-check­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions have con­cluded that the cer­tifi­cates are au­then­tic, and Mr. Obama has joked about those who ques­tioned his birth. At last year’s White House Cor­re­spon­dents As­so­ci­a­tion Din­ner, soon af­ter re­leas­ing his long-form certificate, he mocked Don­ald Trump, who had said his own in­ves­ti­ga­tors were look­ing into the mat­ter.

But Sher­iff Ar­paio, who first built his na­tional pro­file by cre­at­ing tent cities for jail in­mates and later by tak­ing a tough stance on il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion, could reignite ques­tions among those who con­tinue to be­lieve Mr. Obama was born out­side the U.S. and is in­el­i­gi­ble to be pres­i­dent un­der the Con­sti­tu­tion’s pro­vi­sion that the of­fice­holder be a nat­u­ral-born cit­i­zen.

Last De­cem­ber, the Jus­tice Depart­ment ac­cused Sher­iff Ar­paio of civil rights abuses within his depart­ment, but he said he be­gan his in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­fore that — in Au­gust 2011 — af­ter tea party mem­bers from Sur­prise, a town within Mari­copa County, signed a pe­ti­tion chal­leng­ing the certificate.

Ac­tivists protested out­side of the au­di­to­rium where Sher­iff Ar­paio held his press con­fer­ence, ac­cus­ing him of run­ning a cor­rupt depart­ment. A few miles away, out­side the Phoenix main li­brary branch, a man was col­lect­ing sig­na­tures to back Lt. Mike Stauf­fer, a Scotts­dale po­lice of­fi­cer and a Re­pub­li­can who is chal­leng­ing Sher­iff Ar­paio in the up­com­ing elec­tion.

“We hate him here,” the man gath­er­ing sig­na­tures said of Sher­iff Ar­paio.

Sher­iff Ar­paio said he went into the in­ves­ti­ga­tion with an open mind, and would have been happy to clear Mr. Obama.

In­stead, he said the for­mer law en­force­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tors he de­ployed from his “cold case posse” — at no tax­payer ex­pense, he said — were un­able to back up the White House’s story.

His in­ves­ti­ga­tors said the im­age of the birth certificate re­leased by the White House ap­pears to have been cre­ated orig­i­nally on a com­puter, rather than hav­ing been orig­i­nally made on pa­per and then scanned.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tors said they have iden­ti­fied “a per­son of in­ter­est” in the birth certificate mat­ter.

Sher­iff Ar­paio’s chief in­ves­ti­ga­tor on the project said there are so many ques­tions that he couldn’t have cleared Mr. Obama to be an em­ployee of Mari­copa County.

Pur­su­ing ques­tions about the birth certificate has been a thorny is­sue for the GOP. State law­mak­ers in sev­eral places, in­clud­ing Ari­zona, have pur­sued laws that would have im­posed checks on any pres­i­den­tial can­di­date’s qual­i­fi­ca­tions to get on their state bal­lots.

One such pro­posal in Ari­zona, which be­came known as the “birther” bill, was ve­toed by Gov. Jan Brewer, a Re­pub­li­can, last year.

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