Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., said today that he and his investigators have evidence that President Obama's birth certificate is a forgery. He also raised questions about the authenticity of Obama's selective service registration, though critics quickly accused him of pandering for votes.
"We believe probable cause exists indicating that forgery and fraud may have been committed, not only in President Obama's long-form birth certificate, but more disturbing evidence suggests that another fraud may have been committed regarding his selected service registration card," Arpaio, 79, said at a press conference. "Based on all of the evidence presented and investigated I cannot in good faith report to you that these documents are authentic."
The findings come after a six month investigation by Arpaio's Cold Case Posse, a group of volunteers, many of whom have backgrounds in law enforcement.
"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," Arpaio said.
Arpaio's investigators said the issue they are most concerned with is that the "date stamp and registrar's stamp appear to have been imported from unknown outside sources."
Arpaio said he decided to undertake the investigation last August after members of the Tea Party asked him to do so. However, some critics say the tough-talking Arizona sheriff is using it as a way to distract from his own legal problems as he seeks a sixth term in office.
"You say I need this to get elected? Are you kiddiing me? I've been elected five times. I don't need this," he was quoted by The Associated Press as saying in response.
Arpaio faces a federal grand jury investigation on criminal abuse-of-power allegations; the Justice Department has accused him of racial profiling Latinos. And there has been an accusation that hundreds of sex-crime cases were inadequately investigtated by his department.
Obama's birth certificate has been called into question many times during his political career and last April the White House released copies of it in an attempt to quiet conspiracy theorists after Dondald Trump questioned whether the president was born in the U.S. as the Constitution requires.
In response to Arpaio's press conference today, Ben LaBolt, press secretary for the Obama campaign, tweeted a link to watch the live feed of Arpaio's announcement. The link actually led to the theme song from "The X-Files," a TV show that played heavily on consipracy theories.
Coincidentally, Arpaio's press conference also came on the same day Obama's campaign unveiled its new Facebook timeline. At the very bottom of the page it reads "Born on August 4, 1961. Made in the USA." The post is accompanied by a photo of a coffee mug with Obama's birth certificate on it.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.