On July 23, 2009, CNN President Jon Klein sent Lou Dobbs’ staffers the following e-mail:

—– Original Message —–

From: Klein, Jon (CNN)

Sent: Thu Jul 23 19:00:44 2009

Subject: Important re birth certificate

I asked the political researchers to dig into the question “why couldn’t Obama produce the ORIGINAL birth certificate?”

This is what they forwarded. It seems to definitively answer the question. Since the show’s mission is for Lou to be the explainer and enlightener, he should be sure to cite this during your segment tonite [sic]. And then it seems this story is dead – because anyone who still is not convinced doesn’t really have a legitimate beef.



*In 2001 – the state of Hawaii Health Department went paperless. *Paper documents were discarded* The official record of Obama’s birth is now an official ELECTRONIC record Janice Okubo, spokeswoman for the Health Department told the Honolulu Star Bulletin, “At that time, all information for births from 1908 (on) was put into electronic files for consistent reporting,” she said.

Klein’s e-mail is posted on Media Bistro.

Jon Klein’s statement gave the false impression that Obama could not gain access to or ask for the release of the original “Certificate of Live Birth,” and that (to use the words of an investigator into this issue) “it was the Hawaiian Dept of Health’s policy rather than Obama’s own reluctance that was responsible for the holding back of this certificate.”

In addition to being a nasty piece of career blackmail against Lou Dobbs’ staffers, this e-mail is either a deliberate deception or an embarrassing example of bad judgment and the total incompetence of “the political researchers” at CNN.

If “the political researchers” at CNN had made more extensive inquiries than just repeating a public statement made on June 7, 2009, by the Department of Health spokesman to a local newspaper, they would have discovered that up until sometime between June 10 and June 18, 2009, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands required applicants for special privileges to present copies of their original birth certificates. The DHHL regarded the shorter “Certification of Live Birth” as insufficient. Therefore the DHHL instructed all applicants to this program in the accepted procedure for obtaining copies of their original birth certificate from the Department of Health.

Here, from a Hawaii state document that was posted on June 10, 2009, is a description of how to apply for the original “Certificate of Live Birth” (the original birth certificate) as opposed to the “Certification of Live Birth”:

In order to process your application [to prove native Hawaiian ancestry], DHHL [Department of Hawaiian Homelands] utilizes information that is found only on the original Certificate of Live Birth, which is either black or green. This is a more complete record of your birth than the Certification of Live Birth (a computer-generated printout). Submitting the original Certificate of Live Birth will save you time and money since the computer-generated Certification requires additional verification by DHHL.

Please note that DOH [Department of Health] no longer offers same day service. If you plan on picking up your certified DOH document(s), you should allow at least 10 working days for DOH to process your request(s), OR four to six weeks if you want your certified certificate(s) mailed to you.

This post on the DHHL website was taken down sometime between June 10 and June 18, 2009 and replaced with “The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands accepts both Certificates of Live Birth [original birth certificates] and Certifications of Live Birth [the abbreviated computer printouts] … Although original birth certificates (Certificates of Live Birth) are preferred for their greater detail, the State Department of Health (DOH) no longer issues Certificates of Live Birth.”

So, up until June 10, 2009, a procedure was in place at the Dept of Health for application for copies of the original “Certificate of Live Birth.”

So it didn’t matter if Hawaii actually did destroy its paper birth certificates in 2001. Up until between June 10, 2009, and June 18, 2009, there was an established way for Barack Obama, or anyone else who wanted to, to get copies of their own original birth certificates (produced from the scanned digital images of the original hard-copy certificates or from microfilm).

And therefore Klein’s message to Dobbs’ staffers is deceptive or mistaken. Up until the middle of June 2009, Obama could “produce the original birth certificate.” And the Hawaiian Department of Health could produce it now if he authorized it to do so. The story is not “dead,” even though Klein has just tried to kill it. So Klein either lied to or misled Dobbs’ staffers or was lied to or misled by the Hawaiian Department of Health.

If this way to access copies of the original birth certificate no longer exists (i.e. if the scanned digital images or microform copies of the original birth certificates have been destroyed or altered) the Hawaiian Department of Health has, sometime in the last month and a half, committed a crime of the destruction of evidence of historic significance. It’s hard to believe it would do this. But the Hawaiian Department of Health has been so slippery on this issue that, at this point, nothing would surprise us.

The evidence of gross negligence or outright deception on the part of CNN President Jon Klein is clear.

Floyd and Mary Beth Brown are columnists and best-selling authors. Floyd is president of the Western Center for Journalism. An archive of their writings is available at www.floydbrown.com.

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