Winchester FBI Office Refuses FOIA Request on Obama Records

By George Archibald

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s office in Winchester that  answers the public’s Freedom of Information Act requests has told this reporter  that the FBI will not release any documents in its files about President Obama’s  background until Mr. Obama personally completes a form for them that proves his  own identity.

President Obama's recently released birth certificate

“Records pertaining to a third party generally cannot be released absent express  authorization and consent of the third party, proof that the subject of your  request is deceased, or a clear demonstration that the public interest in  disclosure outweighs the personal privacy interest and that significant public  benefit would result from the disclosure of the requested records,” wrote David  M. Hardy, chief of the FBI’s FOIA office in a letter on May 4.

The FBI’s Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS) office in Winchester  responds to all FOIA requests received by the bureau nationally. Hardy said the  April 15 request was titled “Obama, Barack Hussein/Specific Documents” and assigned FBI FOIA Request No. 1165733.

The request specified any records in FBI files on  Obama’s background and that  of his family members. Specified were documents and records concerning the  president’s date and actual place of birth; national citizenship when born in  August 1961 and subsequently; childhood immigration to Indonesia as a  six-year-old in 1967, when his mother reportedly renounced his U.S. citizenship  and legally changed Obama’s name as a minor child to Barry Soetoro and  citizenship to Indonesian.

Also requested were any FBI file documents concerning Obama having regained his  U.S. citizenship after returning to the United States as a 10-year-old child in  1971 or thereafter, which would have made him a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Naturalized citizens who were previously foreign nationals or born outside the  United States are not eligible to be as a certified presidential candidate on  state ballots or to become president.

There are several reported pending federal court cases filed in California and  elsewhere that have challenged Obama’s right to be president on the citizenship  issue.  The cases threaten the legitimacy of Obama’s administration and actions in office, including his appointments and ratification of congressional acts and  laws sent for his signature as president.

One reported case found in a Google search that appeared to be headed for the  U.S. Supreme Court was an internet link to a purported Associated Press story  published by The Washington Post.  But a further independent search on both the Associated Press and Washington Post web sites did not turn up the story, which  appears to be fraudulent.

Nonetheless, the FBI FOIA request would be formally appealed if the FBI  continues to delay and withhold release of the requested Obama records.

FBI public information officer Dennis Argyll in Winchester yesterday affirmed  the bureau’s refusal to release any Obama documents until the president  personally signs and returns the Department of Justice Form 361 Certification of Identity in connection with the pending FOIA request.

Argyll said in a telephone call that he would not acknowledge Obama’s position  as president or confirm his identity over the telephone for purposes of the FOIA  request.

“He [Obama] must authorize people before we release the documents you have  requested,” Argyll stated. “All you have to do is what’s in that [May 4 FBI]  letter.”

Argyll was asked, “Won’t you save us all a lot of time and just accept over the  phone that President Obama is who we all know he says he is?”

“The answer is no,” Argyll responded.  “We have to have his permission [to  release requested documents under the FOIA.]  Otherwise, you’re not going to get  them.”

View the president’s long form birth certificate here:  birth-certificate-long-form



  1. ElinorDashwood says:

    Really? Are we still stuck on this? I am neither democrat nor republican, I have voted both parties in the 30 years I have been voting, I vote individuals but don’t you think that if there were any truth to all the rumors, the truly rabid republicans would have gotten proof and gotten it in the public eye long ago? I mean you KNOW capitol hill, finding proof and witnesses FOR ANYTHING takes weeks, not years.

  2. Slow news day?

  3. orville says:

    Obama is getting the exact same treatment and protection as my great-grandfather. I filed a FOIA request for any FBI info on him- and they required me to prove that he was deceased or had given permission. The same could be said for John McCain or the author of this article.
    I am no fan of Obama, and did not vote for him or any of his Democratic opponents. However to use this as a sign of special treatment is simply ludicrous.

  4. Lonnie Bishop says:

    How is this “news,” CDN editors?

    CDN Editor: Mr Archibald is a former investigative reporter for a national newspaper and has significant credibility when it comes to breaking national news. Mr. Archibald’s story is not about the authenticity of President Obama’s birth certificate, but rather the possibility that the president may be a naturalized citizen due to his mother forfeiting his citizenship when Mr. Obama was a child. While the birth certificate question has been answered, Mr. Archibald believes that additional information needs to be released regarding whether or not the president’s family voluntarily forfeited citizenship in order to live in Indonesia. Mr. Archibald is making no allegation regarding the authenticity of the claim, rather, he is reporting about a Freedom of Information Act request that has been denied in pursuit of information related to the story.

    • Lonnie Bishop says:

      CDN Editor: No, he’s reporting his suppositions that it’s happenin. As such, that is not “news.” It is his unsubstantiated “opinion” on the larger issue; the fact that a FOIA request was denied has been spun, poorly, to implicate taht there is something being hidden. He is a former reporter for a right-leanin newsrag, snoopin about and dredgin up anything to support his conspiracy theory. That you granted him such a platform as a “feature” is unfortunate.

      The president produced his “long form” birth certificate establishing that, indeed, he was born to a US citizen on soil under the auspices of the United States of America (the STATE of Hawai’i) in 1961; he’s over the age of 35; and he lived in the US for 14 years. Thus, according to the very clear specifications in the US Constitution, he is a citizen and thus qualified to be president.

  5. Bob Kelly says:

    CDN Ed: Mr Archibald is a former investigative reporter for a national newspaper and has significant credibility when it comes to breaking national news.

    Mr. Archibald earned his chops at the Washington Times. In these days of polarization there is no need to hide his ideology; he didn’t earn those awards for his contributions to the Huffington Post. So is he a stringer for CDN now?

    CDN Ed: Mr. Archibald’s story is not about the authenticity of President Obama’s birth certificate, but rather the possibility that the president may be a naturalized citizen due to his mother forfeiting his citizenship when Mr. Obama was a child.

    So Mr. Archibald is not a Birther; he just wants to delegitimize Barack Obama’s presidency. Glad you could straighten that out.

    • This issue still hangs around because Mr. Obama refused to provide the information and Congress didn’t pursue it. People are asking because Mr. Obama himself stated that he wanted to be more transparent.

      Well, so far, he’s not been very transparent.

      The Dems took their share of pokes at the GOP, and the GOP does the same. Don’t whine about ideology. Whine that this is what politicians do instead of their job they were elected to do.

      • Bob Kelly says:

        Who’s whining? Archibald has an agenda that you obviously share: Barack Obama is not a legitimate POTUS. Trouble is the whole lot of you are wasting your time. The only likely voters this silliness would sway won’t vote for Obama anyway. The majority of the independents that both parties need to prevail in 2012 are becoming weary of this charade. The Grand Old Party has lost it’s conscience, moral compass, and common sense and if the election were held today there is not a single Republican candidate, announced or unannounced, that has a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning.

        • I don’t have an agenda other than I’m sick of lying politicians. Doesn’t matter who’s side they’re on. I’d prefer we go back to the days when politics was an honor to serve, and not a profession.

        • ElinorDashwood says:

          Nicely put, Mr. Kelly. The tack being taken here is that IF President Obama’s citizenship was forfeited as a child, every piece of paper he has signed since entering office is null and void. Are they even considering the chaos that our government would be thrown into if that were to happen? It would be anarchy….Again, I don’t believe it true or he wouldn’t have made it so far into his term without proof surfacing, not with so many out to get him.

          • Oh spare us the drama. There would not be “chaos” or “anarchy”. There are provisions that address that issue if it were to happen. If I’m not mistaken, Biden would take over. What would be chaotic is the search for how it happened and who was responsible if it was found out that Mr. Obama was not legally eligible.

            Mr. Obama brought this mess upon himself by not being completely forthcoming from the get-go. The Birthers say that they don’t believe his recently submitted birth certificate is the real deal. Wasn’t it Dan Rather who lost his job over some faked document about Bush?

            Politicians these days are worthless, greedy scoundrels who publicly pledge loyalty to their constituents while privately lining their pockets with special interest money to create legislation that benefits a select few and costs the majority.

          • ElinorDashwood says:

            I’m glad that you recognized the drama, RW. The Breakfast Club was a favorite movie of mine so it was said with that intention.
            The chaos would be the dredging up of every single document with his presidential signature and the setbacks that would ensue. I’m sure Biden would do just fine. So put on the blood pressure cuff and calm down before you do yourself harm.

          • Biden would make Dan Quayle look like Einstein.

          • You know there was a story today about how the SEALS now fear reprisals for their sending Bin Laden to meet the goat virgins. You know who outed them? Uncle Joe with his monthly stupid comment.

          • ElinorDashwood says:

            …at least he never shot a friend in the face. Boy, you guys are fun to wind up.

          • The bottom line is, NO ONE is going to see any of his records without Barry signing a form giving permission to release the stuff. This is a basic right anyone has in this country. I can’t just write the FBI and say I want to see everything you have on Rightwinger, because it would violate the Privacy Act of 1974 and RIghtwingers privacy.

            Unfortunately ,we’ll probably never see any Barry’s real records until he’s dead. God forbid he just be “transparent” as he said he would be over and over and just release everything to the public

    • Fly Swatter says:

      “he just wants to delegitimize Barack Obama’s presidency…”

      Barry O. is doing a fine job of delegitimizing the office himself….

  6. The only reason this “birther” thing is going on is that John McCain was not born in the Canal Zone but actually Panama mainland itself!!! Spin, Spin, Spin and around we go………

    • KIds born overseas to miltary parents are automatically US citizens. It’s the law

  7. Fligloot says:

    I remember the good old days, when presidents were elected the right way: by the votes of five honorable, non-activist justices!

    And a note for birthers: I spent five years administering US nationality laws. It makes no difference WHERE Obama was born; he was born to an American mother, and was therefore a “natural born” American citizen. Just ask any lawyer who can read.

  8. Naked Truth says:

    Let’s face it. It all comes down to the fact that he doesn’t look like the majority, bottom line!

  9. George Archibald says:

    Many of those commenting unfortunately missed the real point of the story, which transcends one’s feelings or beliefs regarding President Obama and his citizenship issue. These government people who frustrate taxpaying citizens by refusing to honor the spirit and letter of the Freedom of Information Act have no shame. They treat people who use the FOIA to discover factual evidence as idiot nuisances. No wonder the Tea Party phenomenon is taking off like a rocket. So many people believe our government is the enemy, and unfortunately under President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, the FBI has been co-opted and fallen into line to frustrate, stonewall, and obstruct honest inquiry and research for the factual truth. That’s why, still, journalism is war. Those who disrespect honest inquiry with insults and personal attack are simply irrelevant to honest discourse and simply a nuisance that good people are forced to put up with.

    • Bob Kelly says:

      George: These government people who frustrate taxpaying citizens by refusing to honor the spirit and letter of the Freedom of Information Act have no shame.

      They are doing their job, mister. The lack of shame falls into your lap. There are thousands of issues that confront our society and culture, and millions of things to celebrate. You waste your time like a blind man looking for a black cat in a dark room, encouraging the fringes of our society to question the legitimacy of the presidency of Barack Obama.

      George: No wonder the Tea Party phenomenon is taking off like a rocket.

      Delusional. The only way this phony movement stays in the news is with crap like what you tried to pass off as news. CDN should be ashamed for running this any place other than as an editorial.

      George: … journalism is war. Those who disrespect honest inquiry with insults and personal attack are simply irrelevant to honest discourse and simply a nuisance that good people are forced to put up with.

      Nice try. Brand your detractors as demons. Karl Rove taught you well.

      Now tell us all about your new career as a stringer for a hometown online news site?

    • Lonnie Bishop says:

      The folks who file those asinine FOIA requests on some misguided Don Quioxte quest have earned themselves the title of “idiot nuisances.” Are you implying that the Justice Dept., under Ashcroft and Bush, didn’t do way more than that with the Patriot Act and warrantless wiretapping and the like…while denying records regarding Cheney’s meetingwith oil companies, etc.?

      This birther stuff ain’t anythin more than a red herring…and stinks just as bad. You don’t get your way, so you call them names and dismiss them with a snooty wave of your paw. Such an elitist, absolutist bent tells more about you than anything else, sir…and it’s not a positive.

      • You mean like when Obama has meetings at buildings outside the White House, so there’s not record of them? At least Cheney was meeting with American companies. God knows what socialists Obama is meeting

    • Naked Truth says:

      Let’s face it George and the other birther cohorts. you couldn’t get him on the birth certificate thing. Give it a rest and wait it out. His term is more than half way through. I had to wait it out for eight years before Obama. It could be worse. Stop wasting time and money on this gripe. He’s a Democrat and he’s black, do you really need a third reason to dislike him?

    • H.L.Menken says:

      “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
      This newspaper quote is over seventy years old but appears to be just as accurate today.

  10. Bob Kelly says:

    If this opinion piece has nothing to do with Barack Obama’s birth certificate, then why is it’s image and link to same imbedded within said piece? Are we seeing CDN’s agenda, or is this George Archibald’s work? Either way it’s smarmy.

  11. ElinorDashwood says:

    Yes, Cheney met with American companies, mainly Halliburton.
    Has anyone else ever noticed how ominously silent, Rightwinger is on the weekends? Interesting…

    • I have better things to do than spend my weekends in front of a PC. I get out and support my community by making purchases at the Farmer’s Market, doing business with businesses in Dowtown Berryville, going to the Bookfest to hear the OUTSTANDING performers in the CCHS Choir, and applauding the CCHS youth who strive for and achieve academic excellence.

      But thanks for noticing. It’s kinda neat to have people think about me.

  12. Fly on the wall says:

    If this obviously-slanted article is worthy of the “feature” label, that’s unfortunate. it’s based on a FOIA request denied per bureau policy, just as it would be denied for any other person. To link the official WH presidential portrait and the long-form birth certificate to it suggest credibility where there is none. This is a non-story, puffed up like a Twinkie on assumptions and not much else solid. There is no solid reporting here…just an opinion, a denied FOIA, and a lame Google-search effort. CDN’s credibility dimmed a bit on this one, imho.

    Even the best reporters, like the ebst ball players, whiff at the plate. That’s what happened here.

  13. Unwelcome Outsider says:

    Welcome to the New Media.

    Polarizing “article” = lots of page views = increased ad revenue.

    • Bob Kelly says:


      Add to that an active reader comment section that is an unavoidable part of the article and you have CDN’s flawed formula. I say flawed because if any reader wants to go beyond disagreeing with an article/author they need only fill the advertisers’ mailboxes with their complaints. It doesn’t hurt that the possibility exists for multiple sockpuppets by any given reader because of the lack of a user registration system and you have a formula for short-term profit.

  14. Mr. Kelly, if I am not mistaken, CDN already addressed your “flawed system” comments on another thread. Even a registration system has flaws and it is a problem nationwide. Two local papers have registration systems that would allow me to sign up under multiple pseudonyms if I wanted. The comments can be wonderful and horrible. Sometimes I wish CDN would just turn them off. Then again, you and others were able to express your opinion and displeasure with the material in this article. There is also a risk of, to use Bob’s term, “net-nannying.” Where do you draw the line?

    Also, CDN allows material to be submitted by local writers. They are not “stringers” for CDN, Bob (which makes me wonder about your line of work since you know that term). Remember the Planned Parenthood submission? Do you honestly think CDN goes out and looks for this material just to garner page views? This probably should have gone under Letter to the Editor or Clarke Voices, but what is done is done.

    • Unwelcome Outsider says:

      >Beth: “Do you honestly think CDN goes out and looks for this material just to garner page views”

      To a limited degree, yes. Look at the top of the page – “Clarke Daily News – News and Events in Clarke County Virginia”. It seems that the point of CDN is to fill in the gap left by the Clarke Times/Courier – news with local significance that isn’t likely to be reported elsewhere.

      Disregarding the occasional hot-button issue starring Robina and/or Pete, it’s doubtful that the total viewership of stories about the book fest or high school robotics team will generate enough income to keep the lights on. CDN is providing all of this news at no cost to us, and server space/bandwidth isn’t free.

      However, to call a story about *any* FOIA request being handled by the Winchester FBI office (since they handle *all* of them) “local news” is a stretch.

      I think CDN knows that there are a few prolific, opinionated regular posters on both sides of the “birther” fence and ran with this story to get the masses riled up. I can’t say I blame them – they do need income to keep this whole endeavor running for the rest of us freeloaders – but it’s up to us to recognize when an article is an article and when it’s an opinion piece in sheep’s clothing.

    • LStanton says:

      My main issues are that it was pooryl written, obviously slanted, and nothing worthy of a “feature” label. It is built on the flimsiest of presumptions, and tosses a whole category of workers (“those government types”) under the bus, merely because they follow procedure. Quite a few of “those government types” live here in our beloved county, so it’s a disservice to all of them that Mr. Archibald (his 4 Pulitzer nominations – but no wins – notwithstanding) put together such a pitiful and broadly insulting piece.

      When ya add in those Googelads in the upper right corner – promoting the Gadsden Snake flag (a Tea Party favorite) and things like “Recall Obama?” or “Should the US follow Arizona’s lead on immigration?” – it could be inferred that CDN has taken an ideological shift to the neo-Libertarian right. Yes, the piece on the cutting of funding for Planned Parenthood was also one that generated a lot of comments, but that was clearly presented as an OpEd. This letter should have been, too.

      • The leaps you take with the overwhelming lack of knowledge you posess of how Google Adsense works seems to illustrate your own agenda. Ads are placed automatically by Google’s system based on the keyword set in close proximity to the ad space.

        Here’s a free lesson, click on the stinkbug article and what ad do you see? Something like Terminex or some other exterminator. Ads are automatically fed by Google to be of similar interest areas to the content they are near, not some subversive agenda. Further more Google’s system takes into account sites you have visited and uses an approach that is called “remarketing.” This will feed ads based on sites you have visited in order to draw you back to something you have already shown an interest in. It is a system that is efficient, extensive, and completely automated.

        Your whole line of reasoning smacks of the very conspiracy theories you so vehemently speak against. The reality is you exhibit the very same behavior you cry out against. You posses limited knowledge of the technical areas you claim to have sufficient mastery of that would allow you to pass judgment on the motives of people you have no connection to and have never met. Yet your complete misrepresentation shows your assessment to be little more than a “birther” type conspiracy of your very own.

        The plain and very simple reality is that we presented an experienced writer, who is a resident of Clarke County, the opportunity to publish to our audience. While you may disagree with the quality or merit of the article and the author, to leap to your own conspiracy is as silly as it is sad.

        • Travis Goodwin says:

          Does that mean you need to attack the intelligence of your readers? I agree that the above post about the Google ads is off the reservation, but to fire back with such a cutting and nasty reply really makes you look thin-skinned.

          You guys run a great site here, and your unrestricted posting policy will, by nature, see some silly – and outright dumb – ideas come in. But, to let the annoyance at those who suggest something devious on your part come through your tone drops you to their level.