Blogger admits Hawaii birth certificate forgery, subverting Obama claims

Jay McKinnon, a self-described Department of Homeland Security-trained document specialist, has implicated himself in the production of fake Hawaii birth certificate images similar to the one endorsed as genuine by the Barack Obama campaign, and appearing on the same Daily Kos blog entry where the supposedly authentic document appears.

The evidence of forgery and manipulation of images of official documents, triggered by Israel Insider’s revelation of the collection of Hawaii birth certificate images on the Photobucket site and the diligent detective work of independent investigative journalists (led by JimJ and Texas Darling) and imaging professionals such as Polarik in the three weeks since the publication of the images, implicate The Daily Kos, a “progressive” blog site, and the Obama campaign’s “Fight the Smears” website, in misleading the public with official-looking but manipulated document images of doubtful provenance. Moreover, the blog and the campaign have been negligent in allowing the promotion of obviously forged and fake official documents together with the purported image of Obama’s birth certificate.


The blog entry, posted by the site founder Kos (Markos Moulitsas), is presented as a response to a request by Jim Geraghty of the National Review Online, who had, three days before, called for the Obama campaign to release the candidate’s birth certificate:

Having done some Obama-rumor debunking that got praise from Daily Kos (a sign of the apocalypse, no doubt), perhaps the Obama campaign could return the favor and help debunk a bunch of others with a simple step: Could they release a copy of his birth certificate?
Reporters have asked for it and been denied, and the state of Hawaii does not make such records public […]

So Kos aka Moulitsas goes out and gets one. One impressed commenter on the site asks Kos where he got it. He answers:
“I asked the campaign. This ‘journamalism [sic] thing actually works sometimes.”

But why would a presidential campaign that has its own “Fight the Smears” website rely on a radical left-wing blog like Daily Kos to post its official documents, especially one as sensitive and controversial as a birth certificate? A few days later the Obama site would post a very low resolution, barely legible image — it still is there on the site, with no reference to the one first posted at the Daily Kos.

Yet the service of Daily Kos to the Obama campaign raises some questions: Who in the campaign would be authorized to release a personal document of Barack Obama’s birth certificate? Was it a paper document that they sent to Kos to scan, or did the Obama campaign scan the original and send it to Kos? If so, why not just post it on the Fight the Smears site? Or is there another possible source for the document? There is no documentation of the provenance of this image, from whom and why it was transmitted to Daily Kos, and in which format. None, that is, except for the say-so of Markos Moulitsas, who said he simply asked the Obama campaign for it.

The perceived unreliability of the image has provoked petitions and widespread demands for Obama to submit for objective inspection the paper versions of the “birth certificate” he claimed in his book Dreams from My Father was in his possession, as well as the paper version of the Certificate of Live Birth for which the image on the Daily Kos and the Obama “Fight the Smears” website was supposedly generated.

Without a valid birth certificate, the primary record of US birth, Obama cannot prove that he fulfills the “natural born citizen” requirement of the Constitution, throwing into doubt his eligibility to run for President and throwing the race into turmoil. His presumed Kenyan-born father was foreign-born, and his mother was too young at the time of birth to confer natural born status by virtue of her American citizenship. Thus his citizenship comes down to proving he was born in the USA, and his campaign has staked its credibility on the authenticity of the Daily Kos-derived birth certificate image. (These aspects of the case are covered extensively in the previous article in this series.)


Jay McKinnon ask opendna, who says he is 25-30 years old, operates a website called and uses the opendna screen name on various web sites and blogs, including his comments and diary on The Daily Kos. In recent years he has divided his time between Long Beach, California and Vancouver, British Columbia. He is a Democratic political activist, frequent contributor to the left wing Daily Kos blog, and a fervent Barack Obama supporter.

opendna posted on his Photobucket album two versions of a “Certification of Live Birth” document image, here and here. Both, as demonstrated in the respective blogs of analysts Polarik and JimJ, have a common visual signature (a dot that appears on all four images) with the images posted on the Daily Kos site image that the Obama campaign has endorsed as genuine on its “Fight the Smears” website and has distributed to news media as the “real” birth certificate of Barack Obama. The signature dot appears on that one, too, when magnified, albeit a bit … smeared.

Here’s the same anomaly appears in Jay Mckinnon/opendna’s images (highlight added by JimJ:

View the larger image.

One image created and posted by opendna is what he describes as a “blank template” of a State of Hawaii Certification of Live Birth. Only two data fields are filled in: the ISLAND OF BIRTH (“Oahu”) and the HOUR OF BIRTH (7:24 PM). Neither of the images have a posted date stamp, but embedded EXIF information contains the time stamp of June 12 at 8:24am, the same day and time Daily Kos posted the purported Obama birth certificate.

Both images lack two salient characteristics present in the Barack Obama birth certificate images claimed by the Daily Kos blog and Obama’s “Fight the Smears” site. The Field under CERTIFICATE NO is blank whereas on the purported “Obama birth certificate” that area is blacked out as if to conceal a real number. In addition, the two documents posted to the opendna account lack the reversed date (June 6, 2007) that appears at the bottom of the purported “Obama birth certificate.”

However, the ISLAND OF BIRTH and the HOUR OF BIRTH is identical on the “Haye I.B Ahphorgerie” and blank certificates as well as the purported “Obama birth certificate,” which also claims 7:24 pm as the HOUR OF BIRTH and Oahu as the ISLAND OF BIRTH. The odds of an identical time occurring by chance in two certificates is 1440 to 1. Either the former is derived from the latter, or the latter is derived from the former.

If “Haye I.B Ahphorgerie” were derivative of the purported “Obama birth certificate,” it would have meant that — in a matter of minutes on the morning of June 12, 2008, opendna would have had to tracelessly erase all fields (save ISLAND OF BIRTH and the HOUR OF BIRTH), and to painstakingly remove the blacked out area near CERTIFICATE NO and the reversed date that appears at the bottom of the purported “Obama birth certificate.” Given the complexity of the background pattern, it would have been difficult to do this without leaving behind traces of the extractions. For what motive would one want to do this?

Given that this is an official state document, the risks of altering and tampering with it, or offering it for the express purpose of creating a forgery, or promoting it on a website, would seem to be rather high for fun and games.

The second possibility is that the blank document preceded the purported Obama birth certificate, serving as a “master” for the other. Either one would find a “blank document” and fill it in, or one would scan or photograph an authentic document and then “clean it” to create a blank document that would be filled in with personal details and the necessary stamps and signatures. One might be inclined to leave in type for two rows for alignment purposes and to ensure that the font type and size are consistent. Later one would fill in the blank areas with the desired data and “authentic” markings.


The significance of opendna’s forged birth certificate template can be discerned by looking more closely at the Daily Kos blog entry in which the purported Obama birth certificate first appears.

Indeed, the document image was initially posted with a resolution of 1024 x 1000. Only later, after it was discovered that the document stamp and official signature were lacking from the document image, Kos replaced the image with the much higher resolution in which it is claimed that, after a series of complex image manipulation steps using special imaging software, a faint image of something the website claims is the missing seal appears. (Even if there is a seal, it’s not clear it’s a seal from an Obama birth certificate, and there is no visible registrar signature, which is also required for a certified document.) But it is impossible to make out with the naked eye, and the manipulation is illegible and useless for verification purposes.

A possible answer for some of these anomalies is provided in banter between opendna and other commenters in the discussion thread of the blog post.

At 12:41pm, a prior request for a “font expert” is answered by opendna: “How about a certified DHS [Department of Homeland Security] document expert?” And by 1:35pm opendna comes up with a suggestion: “Why don’t you just print one up for him? Here’s a blank template.

And sure enough, there in the comments stream, he provides the “almost blank” Hawaii birth certificate image that appears on his Photobucket account, with just the information for the island and hour of birth.

The next commenter is impressed: “why can’t Geraghty find this stuff? (but bloggers like you have it at thier fingertips? No wonder print media is in total collapse.”

Now, as the time stamps would have it, opendna’s suggestion is out of synch, appearing 4-5 hours after the initial posting of the purported Obama birth certificate document. That doesn’t make much sense: Kos doesn’t need a birth certificate for Obama — one was already posted!

So why would OpenDNA post this? What explains his suggestion that Kos “print one up” with a “blank template”? Is he just trying to be funny? Is he trying to impress the other commenters? For this did he go through the trouble of removing all the text and the reverse date-stamp? Or was the blank template “just lying around somewhere” on his computer or in some corner of the Internet, just happening to have the identical information as the purported Obama birth certificate?

A hint may be found here (click the image to open one in higher resolution):

“Corvo”, a very frequent commenter on Daily Kos, had written at 10 am: I’m sure that every forgery includes a note that essentially says “Hey! I’m a forgery!”

At 01:27:12 PM PDT, some three hours later, under the subject “!!!” and without any further comment, OpenDNA posts a crop of his Haye I.B Ahphorgerie image.

In other word, in response to Corvo’s comment, McKinnon makes a visual “joke” — “Hey,” the document is saying: “I be a forgery!”

Remarkably, though, the Ahphorgerie crop appears seven minutes before opendna posts the “blank template” birth certificate image with the suggestion to “print one up” for Obama. So opendna was working on the image at that time.

Of course, the almost-blank “Haye I.B Ahphorgerie” birth certificate is not a particularly useful counterfeit but, as McKinnon suggests, it could be put to good use by “printing one up” using the “blank template.” It’s as if opendna couldn’t resist boasting, after the release of the “official” Obama version, of his own role: “Hey, I be a forgery!”

It is certainly worthy of note that the “Haye I.B Ahphorgerie” image and comments were subsequently excised from the discussion thread, something that could only have been done by a site administrator or Kos himself. However, the management failed to clean up in the site archive from where these images were pulled and, as of this writing, is still publicly accessible. The suppression of the comments indicates that one or more persons at Daily Kos were involved in the attempted cover-up.


None of this is not to imply that McKinnon himself forged the Obama document, with all the fields filled in with information about the presidential candidate but lacking the visible stamp and signature that alone would make it an authentic document. Nor is their proof positive about how the almost-blank “Oahu 7:24pm” document is related to the one endorsed by the Obama campaign that features those exact details.

The presence on the Daily Kos blog of the admittedly forged almost-blank templates of the document, and the admission of forgery by opendna in that same blog entry, not to mention the technical signatures uncovered by Polarik and JimJ, should cause the Obama campaign to radically reassess its reliance on the image of the birth certificate published by the Daily Kos.

If the website is the home for a self-admitted federally-trained document specialist, with examples of forgery posted concurrently with the image they claim as authentic, is that a venue appropriate for a presidential candidate to showcase the only available high resolution purported image of his vital records? If the birth certificate endorsed by his campaign turns out to be a fraud — and the overwhelming evidence assembled points to it being precisely that — what would that say about the credentials and judgment of the presidential candidate it purports to represent? Let alone his Constitutional eligibility to serve.

Yet the Obama campaign, three weeks later, continues to run a derivative of the Daily Kos posts, and insists on its authenticity while refusing to submit any paper proof of birth for official or independent inspection, as if proof of Constitutional fitness to serve is of no consequence.

In the summer of August 2006, blogging on the Daily Kos, opendna aka Jay McKinnon showed off his DHS-derived knowledge, discussing under the heading of “The Perfect ID Card” the ease of forging US documents, birth certificates in particular:

“Most Americans have worse ID than illegal immigrants. So, you have a letter from a notary that says you told him you’re a citizen. Is that supposed to mean something? I’m certain he would sign one saying I told him I’m a carrot. Birth certificates, are you serious? Take a look at yours. Chances are I could counterfeit it at Kinkos.”

Jay McKinnon may not have had to go that far.

In the course of my subsequent email exchange with McKinnon — more on that in the next article — he at last agreed to release the following statement: “I believe there is overwhelming evidence that Senator Obama is a natural born US Citizen, and I have no evidence to contradict that belief.” He did not relate to the veracity of the Obama birth certificate images.

This is Part 4 of a series. Here’s where you can find Parts 1, 2, and 3. Other articles about Barack Obama and his mysterious background are linked on the upper left of this article. In Part 5 (coming soon!), more on the email exchange with Jay McKinnon, some hints from him about “Uncle Mark”, a referral to the “Canadian CIA,” and an attempt by him to downplay the importance of the purported online birth certificates, the authenticity of which he admits cannot be verified.

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