Joe Arpaio: Barack Obama birth proof 'may be forged'

File photo of US Sheriff Joe Arpaio Joe Arpaio has served five terms as a hard-nosed sheriff and has been closely involved in immigration issues

Related Stories

The birth certificate of US President Barack Obama could be a forgery, a controversial Arizona sheriff claims.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County - who styles himself as America's toughest - unveiled the results of a probe into the origins of the document.

His investigators found "probable cause" the certificate may have been made by "forgery and fraud", he said.

Mr Arpaio, known for his tough stance on immigration, is being investigated over allegations of racial profiling.

The US justice department alleges that his office routinely discriminated against Latinos.

He also faces a federal grand jury investigation into the activities of his anti-corruption unit, and a forthcoming re-election bid in Maricopa County.

Tea Party request

Announcing the findings of his volunteer "Cold Case Posse", Mr Arpaio, 79, said analysis of an electronic copy of Mr Obama's birth certificate had revealed strong doubts about its authenticity.

"Based on all of the evidence presented and investigated I cannot in good faith report to you that these documents are authentic," Mr Arpaio said.

Start Quote

If nothing else comes out of the investigation… what we have learned, we need a better process to vet people running for president of the United States of America”

End Quote Joe Arpaio Maricopa County sheriff

"My investigators believe that the long-form birth certificate was manufactured electronically and that it did not originate in a paper format as claimed by the White House."

The White House released Mr Obama's long-form birth certificate in April 2011 amid suggestions by conspiracy theorists that he might not be a natural born US citizen.

That would make Mr Obama, whose father is Kenyan, ineligible to hold the office of president.

The release of the birth certificate appeared to placate some so-called "birthers", among them businessman and reality TV star Donald Trump, who had publicly called for greater clarity.

But Mr Arpaio said he had begun an investigation during 2011 after requests from Arizona Tea Party members.

According to the sheriff, the investigators compared the electronic copy of Mr Obama's birth certificate with one known to be genuine.

The conclusion that "probable cause" existed warranted a criminal investigation and greater scrutiny of presidential candidates, Mr Arpaio said.

"If nothing else comes out of the investigation… what we have learned, we need a better process to vet people running for president of the United States of America," he said.

Critics have suggested that Mr Arpaio launched his probe into Mr Obama's birth certificate to distract attention from his legal wrangles, as well as to aid his upcoming re-election bid.

But the sheriff denied those accusations, telling reporters at his news conference on Thursday: "I'm not going after Obama. I'm just doing my job."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More US & Canada stories

RSS

Features

  • The Duchess and Duke of Cambridge and Prince GeorgeGorgeous George

    Baby steals show as tour reveals rise in support for monarchy


  • Kim Jong-un visits a children's campThe Notepad Men

    Who are the people who take down Kim Jong-un's every word?


  • Beebcoins logoMaking money

    How easy is to coin your own virtual currency?


  • Donald Tusk7 days quiz

    What made Poland's prime minister become an internet hit?


  • Spanner CrabEdible images

    Are these the best food photographs of the past year?


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.