Hoax Alert

Fake News: FBI DID NOT Classify President Obama As A Domestic Terrorist

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Fri, 03 Feb 2017 08:27:17 Z)

An old hoax is making the rounds again: a well know fake news site is running a story with titled "BREAKING: FBI Clasiffies BARACK OBAMA As A DOMESTIC TERRORIST. DO YOU SUPPORT ARREST OF HIM?" The post seems to be based on an old story that went viral last year on several other sites which was titled "FBI Classifies President OBAMA As A DOMESTIC TERRORIST".

These articles are not true, the FBI made no statement at all about President Obama's status as a terrorist.

All the articles do is quote extracts from U.S. law defining terrorism and then accuse Obama of being in violation of them. Example:

18 U.S.C. ยง 2331 defines "international terrorism" and "domestic terrorism" for purposes of Chapter 113B of the Code, entitled "Terrorism":

"International terrorism" means activities with the following three characteristics:

  • Involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
  • Appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
  • Occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S., or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum.*

"Domestic terrorism" means activities with the following three characteristics:

  • Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
  • Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and
  • Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

But nowhere do these articles come up with a substantiated claim that the FBI actually made any statements about this. Even if the alleged violations are all true that still makes the headline false so we are classifying this as 'fake news' for now, until the FBI makes a statement.

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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