By Steve Baldwin – BarbWire guest contributor
There are lots of investigative-type stories on the web about Obama’s life, in particular, his birth, his radical associations, his family, and his education. Over the last few years, many stunning details about Obama’s life have been unearthed that do not appear in his official biography. Indeed, what’s amazing is how much of the official record of his life is either missing or sealed by his attorneys. I’m referring to school records, birth records, passport records, travel records, legislative records and even records involving his mother and grandparents.
Never before has a sitting American president taken so many pains to hide so much of his background. Indeed, attorneys have actually been hired to roam around the country fighting anyone and everyone attempting to access records having to do with any aspect of his life. I happen to believe Obama is serving as President illegally, since only one of his parents is a U.S. Citizen. I think the historical record is clear that “Natural Born Citizen” means both parents must be American citizens. I also would not be surprised if researchers were able to conclude some day that he was indeed NOT born in the USA. I say this because there is now widespread consensus among forensic experts who have examined Obama’s released birth certificate that it is fraudulent document, and a sloppy fraud at that.
That being said, I also think conservatives need to make sure that when we make allegations about Obama, they are accurate and can withstand the scrutiny of other investigators. If we publish easily disproved stories, it destroys our credibility.
In 2008, allegations surfaced on a number of websites to the effect that Obama had forged his Selective Service Registration form. The main allegation was that Obama’s Selective Service form was created belatedly in 1990 and not in 1980 when he was supposed to have filled the form out (as required of all American men when they turn 18). It was also alleged that the postal date stamp on the form uses an incorrect postal abbreviation and a number of other minor discrepancies. The source of much of this info was a retired Federal Agent who served with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).
The stunning allegations are now six years old but have grown to mythic proportions, appearing in hundreds of books and articles about Obama. However, this theory was recently given a major new push when Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his Cold Case Posse investigative project decided to use it as part of the evidence they have collected to demonstrate a pattern of forgery regarding a number of Obama’s documents. Don’t get me wrong; Sheriff Arpaio has performed some great work exposing Obama’s fraudulent birth certificate. However, his team has included the Selective Service fraud allegations as part of a legal brief they have recently submitted to a court. The Sheriff would do well to drop these allegations and focus on the birth certificate.
For a number of reasons, the Selective Service forgery story seemed weak to me. Indeed, forging a Selective Service document a decade later is very difficult to do, due to numerous procedural and legal obstacles. Moreover, the main source of the story is a retired INS agent named Stephen Coffman who was the agent in charge of the Galveston Customs and Immigration office. But INS agents have nothing to do with processing Selective Service forms.
Since I happen to know the former director of the Selective Service who served under Ronald Reagan, I decided to dig into this issue to see if these allegations held up. Sure enough, what I discovered was sloppy research and over-reaching conclusions. Indeed, the story falls apart when one does the most elementary research. There’s no doubt I would love to hammer Obama for forging a federal document but we must let the facts speak for themselves.
Let me review the major allegations of the story:
Obama’s Selective Service Registration Form used the wrong postal abbreviation on the date stamp
One of the main allegations is that the postal date stamp used on Obama’s Selective Service form has the abbreviation “USPO” (for United States Postal Office), but when Obama’s form was completed in 1980, the postal service was using the abbreviation “USPS” because they had changed their name to the United States Postal Service nine years earlier.
In order to find out more about this issue I contacted the National Postal Museum and they in turn sent my inquiry to Dick Sine, one of the top postal historians in the country. He wrote a stamp-collecting column for the New York Times and is the author of Stamp Collecting for Dummies. I asked Mr. Sine what he thought about a document that used a USPO date stamp that should have been discontinued 9 years earlier and he emailed me this:
Personally, my general rule of thumb is, if a clerk might have an outdated device still lingering around someplace (especially at a smaller Post Office) sooner or later it is going to show up on some piece of mail it is not supposed to.
Sine also contacted a number of other postal experts about this issue. One expert on postal date stamps responded with this:
I know that there were still some post offices in Texas using older DCDS date stamps with the USPO instead of USPS in the time frame you mentioned. There was no requirement that I am aware of for a postmaster to replace his date stamp, and many did not. I did a complete survey of devices used by Texas post offices during the 1998-1999-2000 period and found a number of Independent Post Offices still using older devices.
In other words, the fact that Obama’s Selective Service registration form displays a USPO date stamp is certainly not evidence of a forgery. Indeed, USPO date stamps were still being used in Texas as recently as 2000, twenty years after a Hawaiian post office stamped Obama’s Selective Service registration form with a USPO date stamp and twenty-nine years after the USPO date stamp was discontinued!
Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if Post Offices all over Hawaii were still using USPO date stamps long after 1980.
The Document Locator Number indicates the document was created in 2008
Another key allegation is that the Document Locator Number (DLN) located at the top right of the Selective Service registration form — 0897080632 — means the form was produced in 2008 and not in 1980, the year Obama signed it. This is based on the fact the first two digits are 08.
I talked to Will Ebel, the former Director of the Selective Service under Ronald Reagan, and also to Dick Flahavan, the current Associate Director of the Selective Service. Both of these men served under Ronald Reagan in various capacities. Both consider themselves to be politically conservative and strong supporters of Ronald Reagan. Here’s what they said about this issue:
Registration forms created prior to the establishment of the Data Management Center had a DLN configuration different than the current format. The first three characters (089) of the DLN for this form designate that this form was key entered by one of the keying centers of the Internal Revenue Service.
In other words, the 089 part of the Document Locator Number had nothing to do with the year 2008 but rather indicated where the form was keyed in. The Document Locator Number only became sequential after the establishment of the Data Management Center, which occurred long after 1980.
The Document Locator Number has ten digits on the registration form but has eleven digits on the computer printout obtained from the Selective Service.
At the time Obama registered for the Selective Service in 1980, all Document Locator Numbers were ten digits, but later on, the Selective Service added a digit to help the database keep track of registration forms. As Flahavan explains:
The field was later expanded to eleven digits to accommodate the decade change in 1990 and subsequent decades to avoid duplication of some Document Locator Numbers.
In other words, all the Selective Service registration numbers from Obama’s era have ten digit Document Locator Numbers but all from that decade are identified in the Selective Service data base by Document Location Numbers with eleven digits. Nothing scandalous here.
The Selection Service Registration form signed by Obama has an unreadable date at the bottom, which could be Feb. 90 and not Feb. 80.
What is being alleged here is that the actual registration form signed by Obama was not created until Feb. 1990. A related allegation is that the date on the form could never have been Feb, 80 since the Selective Service office supposedly never printed a form dated Feb. 80. Both allegations are false. While the paper version of Obama’s form may be hard to read, Flahavan reports that the microfilm image of the document clearly shows the date of the form as Feb. 80, which is exactly the form Obama would use when he signed it in July of 1980.
The theory that the Feb. 80 version of this Selective Service form was never produced is false since my contacts confirmed that it was commonly used all over the country at the time Obama registered in 1980. This can be easily ascertained by simply looking at other Selective Service Registration forms signed around 1980.
Indeed, the Feb. 80 Selective Service form was approved by the Office of Management & Budget as indicated by the OMB approval number — 194 R0002 — which appears on the form but is partially obscured by the initials of the post office clerk.
Coffman, however, points to the General Services Administration (GSA) website where it supposedly shows that the Feb. 80 form was rejected by the OMB and thus never used by the Selective Service. But the rejection notice that appears on the GSA site is dated March 21, 1980 and refers to a form with the OMB control number of 3240-0002. However, the Feb. 80 form used by Obama was already approved by the OMB and in circulation months before the March 21 date of this notice. The more likely explanation for the OMB rejection notice is that it was referring to a newer version of a registration form the Selective Service wanted to use.
Obama’s Signature is dated one day after the date on the postal stamp.
This is the weakest allegation. We have all signed many forms using a date that was a day before or a day after the official date. This happens every day. Sometimes the person signing it is in a hurry and gets the date wrong or perhaps the clerk forgot to change the date stamp date. This is certainly not evidence of fraud.
The Form shows that Obama didn’t show an ID
Providing an ID to register for the Selective Service was NOT a requirement at the time Obama registered for the Selected Service.
The Date on the Selective Service computer printout shows that the form was filed on Sept 4 but Obama was attending Occidental College in Los Angeles in August.
As Obama’s Selective Service form shows, he signed the document on July 30, 1980, four weeks before classes started at Occidental College. According to Flahavan, the September 4 date, which appears on the Selection Service computer printout, is simply the date that Obama’s registration record was added to the Selective Service database. The term “Transaction Date” used to describe this date on the computer print-out does NOT mean the date Obama registered but, again, it is the date when the information from the registration form was added to the data base. And yes, that can often be over a month later.
The Date of the Computer Print-out is Different than the Transaction Date
There isn’t any correlation between these two dates. One date is when the information from the registration form was added to the Selective Service data base and the other date is simply a date when a computer printout was generated. Coffman also thinks it’s strange that the date listed on the computer generated print out sent to him was five weeks earlier than the date of his Freedom of Information Act request. This gave him the spooky impression that the Selective Service knew about his request before they received it.
However, as Flahavan confirmed to me, there were others investigating Obama’s Selective Service record who had made FOIA requests at around the same time. Thus, the Selective Service probably just sent Coffman a computer printout created for someone else who had requested this document earlier than he did.
That’s it; that’s the bulk of the argument that Obama’s Selective Service form is forged. But when one scrutinizes this theory and actually speaks with fellow conservatives who worked at the Selective Service agency, these allegations fall apart. There are many areas in which conservatives can legitimately attack Obama on, both in terms of policy and how he has hidden and altered details of his past. But this is one theory that simply doesn’t have the evidence to back it up.
Steve Baldwin is a former California State Assemblyman and the former Executive Director of the Council for National Policy and Young Americans for Freedom. He has been published in numerous publications and is the author of “From Crayons to Condoms, The Ugly Truth about America’s Public Schools.”
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.