BORN IN THE USA?
Revealed: 'The Obama birth certificate protection act'?
Bill would prohibit compelling executive branch from releasing documents
Posted: May 24, 2009
9:12 pm Eastern
© 2009 WorldNetDaily
Barack Obama, the man elected president
WASHINGTON – A bill approved by the House of Representatives and referred to the Senate would prohibit federal employees of the executive branch from being compelled to release any document unless a court makes a specified determination by a preponderance of evidence – legislation at least one group suspects is designed to protect Barack Obama's elusive birth certificate from release.
The legislation, HR 985, resides in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Sovereignty Alliance has issued a "red alert" about the bill it calls "stealth legislation ... to protect Obama from providing his birth certificate."
"It wouldn't surprise me a bit if this were one of the intended consequences of this legislation," said Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WND, who last week initiated a national billboard campaign to bring attention to the issue of Obama's missing birth certificate and what it might say about his claim to be a "natural born citizen," a status necessary to serving in the White House.
"In any case, this bill puts the lie to this administration and this Congress being the most ethical and transparent in American history," Farah said. "They're very open when it comes to the secrets of previous administrations, but when it comes to their own work, it is shrouded in secrecy. Even the president's birth certificate and student records are well-guarded state secrets."
Farah launched a petition campaign several months ago that has collected nearly 400,000 names of Americans demanding answers as to Obama's eligibility. Last week he called for financial support of a new campaign to erect billboards around the country asking the simple question: "Where's the birth certificate?"
In just five days, the billboard campaign has been backed by about $45,000 in donations.
Likewise, Farah points out, the nearly 400,000 petitioners represents more people than live in any of the following U.S. cities:
- St. Louis, Missouri
- Tampa, Florida
- Anaheim, California
- Cincinnati, Ohio
- Toledo, Ohio
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- New Orleans, Louisiana
- Newark, New Jersey
- Birmingham, Alabama
- Madison, Wisconsin
- Orlando, Florida
- Reno, Nevada
- Richmond, Virginia
- Des Moines, Iowa
- Little Rock, Arkansas
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- Providence, Rhode Island
- Kansas City, Kansas
- Hartford, Connecticut
- Springfield, Illinois
- Berkeley, California
- Green Bay, Wisconsin
Both efforts are part of what Farah calls an independent "truth and transparency campaign."
The first such sign to be posted under the 5-day-old campaign, a digital, electronic one, is up and online on Highway 165 in Ball, La. – the result of a donation by the owner. In addition, based on the heavy volume of financial donations in the first two days of the campaign, WND was able to commit to leasing two more standard billboards – one in Los Angeles and the other in Pennsylvania. It will take several weeks to get those billboards up because of the vinyl printing and shipping involved.
Birth certificate question being raised in Ball, La.
The "Certification of Live Birth" posted online and widely touted as "Obama's birth certificate" does not in any way prove he was born in Hawaii, since the same "short-form" document is easily obtainable for children not born in Hawaii. The true "long-form" birth certificate – which includes information like the name of the birth hospital and attending physician – is the only document that can prove Obama was born in Hawaii, but to date he has not permitted its release for public or press scrutiny.
"I know now, because of the sensational response to this idea from WND viewers, that this national campaign is going to be big and long-lasting," said Farah. "I want to thank all of those who have pitched in and contributed – with either cash donations or, in some cases, space donations. But the need for money continues."
While the campaign is off to a great start, many viewers have asked why Obama's name is not included in the billboard. Farah said the matter was carefully considered.
"There are several reasons we chose the message: 'Where's the birth certificate?'" he explained. "There is only one birth certificate controversy in this country today – despite the near-total absence of this issue from coverage in the non-WND media. This is a grass-roots issue that resonates around the country, as our own online petition with nearly 400,000 signers suggests. In addition, I like the simplicity of the message. I like the fact that the message will cause some people to ask themselves or others about the meaning of the message. It will stir curiosity. It will create a buzz. I'm assuming when these billboards are springing up all over the country, it might even make some in the news media curious. And there's one more factor that persuaded me this was the way to go.
"Come 2012, campaign laws will pose restrictions on political advertising mentioning the names of presidential candidates. This one clearly doesn't. I would like to see the federal government make the case that this is somehow a political ad," he said.
Farah said the campaign was born of frustration with timid elected officials in Washington, corrupt judges around the country and a news media that show a stunning lack of curiosity about the most basic facts of Obama's background – especially how it relates to constitutional eligibility for the highest office in the land.
"As Obama transforms this country from self-governing constitutional republic to one governed by a central ruling elite, the simple fact remains that no controlling legal authority has established that he is indeed a 'natural born citizen' as the Constitution requires," Farah said. "Obama's promises of transparency have become a bad joke as he continues to hide simple, innocuous documents like his birth certificate and his student records."
The idea behind the billboard campaign is to make sure Obama cannot avoid this question any longer. He must be asked to produce it at every turn, Farah says. Billboard space is currently being hunted in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Sacramento, San Francisco, New York-New Jersey, Des Moines, Seattle and other metro areas.
Farah said another early target for the campaign would be billboards in Honolulu – allegedly Obama's birthplace.
"Is it unusual for a news agency to launch such a campaign?" asks Farah. "Yes it is. But we live in very unusual times. The founding fathers built special protections into the First Amendment for the free press. The reason they did that is because they understood a vibrant 'Fourth Estate' was necessary as an independent watchdog on government. It is in that tradition that WND assumes this role – since nobody else in the press will do it."
WND previously launched a petition campaign that has collected more than 370,000 names demanding Obama's eligibility be verified and demonstrated publicly. That campaign continues. That list has been shared with members of the Electoral College and the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
"I wish such a campaign were not absolutely necessary," said Farah. "I wish there were checks and balances in our political and electoral systems to ensure that constitutional eligibility of presidential candidates was established before politicians could assume the highest office in the land. I wish my colleagues in the news media believed the Constitution really means what it says and pressed this issue as hard as we have pressed it at WND. I wish radio talk-show hosts were bold enough to ask this question. But wishing is not enough. It's time to raise the visibility of this issue vital to the rule of law in America. I ask everyone to pitch in and help WND make a simple yet profound statement: The Constitution still matters."
Your donation – from as little as $5 to as much as $1,000 – can be made online at the WND SuperStore. (Donations are not tax-deductible. Donations of amounts greater than $1,000 can be arranged by calling either 541-474-1776 or 1-800-4WND.COM. If you would prefer to mail in your contributions, they should be directed to WND, P.O. Box 1627, Medford, Oregon, 97501. Be sure to specify the purpose of the donation by writing "billboard" on the check. In addition, donations of billboard space will be accepted, as will significant contributions specifically targeted for geographic locations.)
If you are a member of the media and would like to interview Joseph Farah about this campaign, e-mail WND.
Free Flow of Information Act of 2009 (Introduced in House)
HR 985 IH
February 11, 2009
Mr. BOUCHER (for himself, Mr. PENCE, Mr. CONYERS, Mr. GOODLATTE, Mr. YARMUTH, Mr. WALDEN, Ms. ZOE LOFGREN of California, Mr. COBLE, Mr. WEXLER, Mr. BLUNT, Ms. BERKLEY, Mr. WU, Ms. SCHAKOWSKY, Ms. LEE of California, Mr. DELAHUNT, Mr. MACK, Mr. MCCAUL, Ms. NORTON, Mr. WOLF, Ms. WOOLSEY, Mr. MURPHY of Connecticut, Mr. UPTON, Ms. SLAUGHTER, Mr. BERRY, Ms. GIFFORDS, Mr. GONZALEZ, Mr. PUTNAM, Mr. WEINER, Mr. PAYNE, Mr. COHEN, Mr. KENNEDY, Mr. RADANOVICH, Mr. COOPER, Mr. DOYLE, Ms. BALDWIN, Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, Ms. ESHOO, Mr. BUTTERFIELD, and Mr. REHBERG) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
- Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
- This Act may be cited as the `Free Flow of Information Act of 2009'.
SEC. 2. COMPELLED DISCLOSURE FROM COVERED PERSONS.
- (a) Conditions for Compelled Disclosure- In any matter arising under Federal law, a Federal entity may not compel a covered person to provide testimony or produce any document related to information obtained or created by such covered person as part of engaging in journalism, unless a court determines by a preponderance of the evidence, after providing notice and an opportunity to be heard to such covered person--
- (1) that the party seeking to compel production of such testimony or document has exhausted all reasonable alternative sources (other than the covered person) of the testimony or document;
- (2) that--
- (A) in a criminal investigation or prosecution, based on information obtained from a person other than the covered person--
- (i) there are reasonable grounds to believe that a crime has occurred; and
- (ii) the testimony or document sought is critical to the investigation or prosecution or to the defense against the prosecution; or
- (B) in a matter other than a criminal investigation or prosecution, based on information obtained from a person other than the covered person, the testimony or document sought is critical to the successful completion of the matter;
- (3) in the case that the testimony or document sought could reveal the identity of a source of information or include any information that could reasonably be expected to lead to the discovery of the identity of such a source, that--
- (A) disclosure of the identity of such a source is necessary to prevent, or to identify any perpetrator of, an act of terrorism against the United States or its allies or other significant and specified harm to national security with the objective to prevent such harm;
- (B) disclosure of the identity of such a source is necessary to prevent imminent death or significant bodily harm with the objective to prevent such death or harm, respectively;
- (C) disclosure of the identity of such a source is necessary to identify a person who has disclosed--
- (i) a trade secret, actionable under section 1831 or 1832 of title 18, United States Code;
- (ii) individually identifiable health information, as such term is defined in section 1171(6) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320d(6)), actionable under Federal law; or
- (iii) nonpublic personal information, as such term is defined in section 509(4) of the Gramm-Leach-Biley Act (15 U.S.C. 6809(4)), of any consumer actionable under Federal law; or
- (D)(i) disclosure of the identity of such a source is essential to identify in a criminal investigation or prosecution a person who without authorization disclosed properly classified information and who at the time of such disclosure had authorized access to such information; and
- (ii) such unauthorized disclosure has caused or will cause significant and articulable harm to the national security; and
- (4) that the public interest in compelling disclosure of the information or document involved outweighs the public interest in gathering or disseminating news or information.
- (b) Authority To Consider National Security Interest- For purposes of making a determination under subsection (a)(4), a court may consider the extent of any harm to national security.
- (c) Limitations on Content of Information- The content of any testimony or document that is compelled under subsection (a) shall--
- (1) not be overbroad, unreasonable, or oppressive and, as appropriate, be limited to the purpose of verifying published information or describing any surrounding circumstances relevant to the accuracy of such published information; and
- (2) be narrowly tailored in subject matter and period of time covered so as to avoid compelling production of peripheral, nonessential, or speculative information.
- (d) Rule of Construction- Nothing in this Act shall be construed as applying to civil defamation, slander, or libel claims or defenses under State law, regardless of whether or not such claims or defenses, respectively, are raised in a State or Federal court.
- (e) Exception Relating to Criminal or Tortious Conduct- The provisions of this section shall not prohibit or otherwise limit a Federal entity in any matter arising under Federal law from compelling a covered person to disclose any information, record, document, or item obtained as the result of the eyewitness observation by the covered person of alleged criminal conduct or as the result of the commission of alleged criminal or tortious conduct by the covered person, including any physical evidence or visual or audio recording of the conduct, if a Federal court determines that the party seeking to compel such disclosure has exhausted all other reasonable efforts to obtain the information, record, document, or item, respectively, from alternative sources. The previous sentence shall not apply, and subsections (a) and (b) shall apply, in the case that the alleged criminal conduct observed by the covered person or the alleged criminal or tortious conduct committed by the covered person is the act of transmitting or communicating the information, record, document, or item sought for disclosure.
SEC. 3. COMPELLED DISCLOSURE FROM COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE PROVIDERS.
- (a) Conditions for Compelled Disclosure- With respect to testimony or any document consisting of any record, information, or other communication that relates to a business transaction between a communications service provider and a covered person, section 2 shall apply to such testimony or document if sought from the communications service provider in the same manner that such section applies to any testimony or document sought from a covered person.
- (b) Notice and Opportunity Provided to Covered Persons- A court may compel the testimony or disclosure of a document under this section only after the party seeking such a document provides the covered person who is a party to the business transaction described in subsection (a)--
- (1) notice of the subpoena or other compulsory request for such testimony or disclosure from the communications service provider not later than the time at which such subpoena or request is issued to the communications service provider; and
- (2) an opportunity to be heard before the court before the time at which the testimony or disclosure is compelled.
- (c) Exception to Notice Requirement- Notice under subsection (b)(1) may be delayed only if the court involved determines by clear and convincing evidence that such notice would pose a substantial threat to the integrity of a criminal investigation.
SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.
- In this Act:
- (1) COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE PROVIDER- The term `communications service provider'--
- (A) means any person that transmits information of the customer's choosing by electronic means; and
- (B) includes a telecommunications carrier, an information service provider, an interactive computer service provider, and an information content provider (as such terms are defined in sections 3 and 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 153, 230)).
- (2) COVERED PERSON- The term `covered person' means a person who regularly gathers, prepares, collects, photographs, records, writes, edits, reports, or publishes news or information that concerns local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public for a substantial portion of the person's livelihood or for substantial financial gain and includes a supervisor, employer, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of such covered person. Such term shall not include--
- (A) any person who is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power, as such terms are defined in section 101 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801);
- (B) any organization designated by the Secretary of State as a foreign terrorist organization in accordance with section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189);
- (C) any person included on the Annex to Executive Order No. 13224, of September 23, 2001, and any other person identified under section 1 of that Executive order whose property and interests in property are blocked by that section;
- (D) any person who is a specially designated terrorist, as that term is defined in section 595.311 of title 31, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor thereto); or
- (E) any terrorist organization, as that term is defined in section 212(a)(3)(B)(vi)(II) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(3)(B)(vi)(II)).
- (3) DOCUMENT- The term `document' means writings, recordings, and photographs, as those terms are defined by Federal Rule of Evidence 1001 (28 U.S.C. App.).
- (4) FEDERAL ENTITY- The term `Federal entity' means an entity or employee of the judicial or executive branch or an administrative agency of the Federal Government with the power to issue a subpoena or issue other compulsory process.
- (5) JOURNALISM- The term `journalism' means the gathering, preparing, collecting, photographing, recording, writing, editing, reporting, or publishing of news or information that concerns local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public.
"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies in the heart of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murder is less to fear.
The traitor is the plague......" Marcus Tullius Cicero, speech to the Roman Senate.