The State Department is maintaining a “counter-misinformation” page on an America.gov blog that attempts to “debunk a conspiracy theory” that President Obama was not born in the United States, as if the topic were equivalent to believing space aliens visit Earth in flying saucers.
However, in the attempt to debunk the Obama birth-certificate controversy, the State Department author confirmed Obama was a dual citizen of the U.K. and the U.S. from 1961 to 1963 and a dual citizen of Kenya and the U.S. from 1963 to 1982, because his father was a Kenyan citizen when Obama was born in 1961.
In a number of court cases challenging Obama’s eligibility, dual citizenship has been raised as a factor that could compromise his “natural born” status under Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution. The cases argue dual citizenship would make Obama ineligible even if documentary evidence were shown the public, such as the hospital-issued long-form birth certificate that indicates the place of his birth and the name of the attending physician.
The entry “The Obama Birth Controversy” was written by Todd Leventhal, identified as the chief of the Counter-Misinformation Team for the U.S. Department of State. The office appears to have been established “to provide information about false and misleading stories in the Middle East,” as described in a biography of Leventhal published on the U.S. Public Diplomacy website.
In a manner reminiscent of George Orwell’s novel “1984,” the “counter-misinformation” office appears set on communicating the accepted U.S. government-approved view on a wide range of controversies that are branded dismissively as “conspiracy theories,” including questions about President Obama’s eligibility to be president.
In the “conspiracy theory” section, a discussion of Obama’s birth certificate is lumped together with flying saucers, theories about the JFK assassination and a belief that the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” was a legitimate document.
Ideas considered absurd are identified in nine different “conspiracy theory boxes,” categorized by September 11, health, the military, outer space, economics, U.S. domestic concerns, U.S. and Islam, Latin America and “others.”
‘Expert on conspiracy theories’
State Department spokesman Noel Clay confirmed to WND that Leventhal was a State Department employee and that an office of counter-misinformation existed in the State Department.
Clay did not subsequently respond to WND’s additional inquiries. He was asked whether Congress authorized the office and to provide information regarding the process within the State Department that checked Leventhal’s postings for accuracy and approved them as official U.S. government positions.
“Todd Leventhal is the department’s expert on conspiracy theories and information – stories that are untrue, but widely believed,” the State Department explains on America.gov. “He enjoys reading obituaries, which tell the personal stories of people who have shaped the fabric of American life.”
According to America.gov, Leventhal’s qualifications for the job at America.gov include that he “worked for Voice of America for seven years and bikes to work year-round.”
On the website, the State Department explains, “Todd became interested in international affairs after a four-month trip to the Soviet Union, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India in 1972.”
Leventhal did not respond to WND questions posed on his Facebook page asking for his job description at the State Department and for an explanation of the office and directors to whom he reports in clearing the information he posts.
COLB argument repeated
Leventhal contends it is not true that Obama was born outside the United States, because Hawaii State Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino stated on July 27, 2009, “I … have seen the original vital records on file by the Hawaii State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen.”
However, WND has reported that in two separate interviews, Janice Okubo, the Hawaii Health Department’s public information officer, told WND that Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 338-18 prohibits public officials from commenting on the birth records of any specific person.
Nor was this Fukino’s only statement on Obama’s birth records.
As WND reported, even months earlier, Fukino had said, “I, and Dr. Alvin Onaka have personally seen and verified that the Hawaii State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures.”
But neither statement revealed what the “record” or “certificate” says or clarified many of the questions raised over the issue.
Do the “original vital records” and “original birth certificate” reflect a Hawaiian birth, or a birth overseas?
Next, Leventhal cites the 2008 FactCheck.org production of a Certificate of Live Birth “verifying that it was a real, official document.”
WND has repeatedly pointed out that the Hawaii Department of Health, especially in the era in which Obama was born, issued short-form Certifications of Live Birth to children born in foreign countries, simply because parents or other family members registered the birth with the Hawaii health department.
Leventhal also cites the birth announcements placed in two Honolulu newspapers at the time of Obama’s birth, neglecting to address WND’s research demonstrating that the address listed in the birth announcements was where Obama’s maternal grandparents lived, suggesting the grandparents may have registered the birth.
Nor does Leventhal explain why the American public should not be permitted to see Barack Obama’s long-form birth certificate listing the hospital where he was born and the physician attending the birth.
WND has reported on a continuing controversy in which Obama’s family first claimed he was born at Queens Medical Center in Honolulu, only to change the story to insist Obama was born at the city’s Kapi’olani Medical Center.
Obama a dual citizen
Finally, Leventhal cites FactCheck.org to state, “Obama was originally both a U.S. citizen and a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies from 1961 to 1963 (because his father was from Kenya, which gained its independence from the British Empire in 1963), then both a U.S. and Kenyan citizen from 1963 to 1982, and solely a U.S. citizen after that.”
Leventhal’s entry on “The Obama Birth Controversy” at America.gov reads remarkably like the comparable entry at the Obama 2008 presidential campaign website, “Fight the Smears,” suggesting the State Department is merely repeating Obama campaign argumentation in a partisan fashion, rather than conducting an even-handed and original inquiry into the Obama eligibility controversy.
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