Dr. Chiyome Fukino, Director of the Health Department of the State of Hawaii, issued another public statement yesterday, July 27, 2009, on the issue of the validity of the Certification of Live Birth the Hawaii Department of Health issued to President Obama in 2007, which has been displayed prominently throughout the internet. Here's the statement:
"I ... have seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawaii State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen," Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said in a brief statement. "I have nothing further to add to this statement or my original statement issued in October 2008 over eight months ago."
You can read the full story here, and the October 2008 statement here.
Dr. Fukino's statement adds no new information to the discussion, and is only slightly less finely parsed than her October 31, 2008 statement. It earns her the title of "transparency dodger" and will inevitably require a more detailed statement in the future because of what it fails to reveal.
Apparently, Dr. Fukino continues to refuse questions from the press on the topic, which does nothing but make skeptics want more answers.
Dr. Fukino could do us all a service by adding more information that will move this inquiry towards a final conclusion. Here are the questions Dr. Fukino needs to answer:
1. When you say you have "seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawaii Department of Health verifying Barack Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural born citizen" does that mean you viewed a physical hard copy of the original hospital issued 1961 Certificate of Live Birth or does it mean you have reviewed the electronic records upon which the 2007 issued Certification of Live Birth was based ?
2. Will you formally request of the President of the United States that he authorize you to reveal every detail of information included in the original vital records of his birth maintained by the State of Hawaii Department of Health ?
3. Can you name the hospital in which President Obama was born ?
4. Can you tell us the name of the attending physician at President Obama's birth according to the vital records maintained on file by the Hawaii Department of Health?
5. If you reviewed a physical hard copy of the original hospital issued 1961 Certificate of Live Birth, will you release that document to the public upon receipt of authorization by the President ?
6. If you viewed only the electronic records of the original 1961 hospital records of President Obama's birth, can you tell us what became of the original physical hard copy of that document ? Was it discarded and destroyed ? Is it stored in a warehouse ? If it is stored in a warehouse, can you authorize its release?
The issue of what Dr. Fukino actually viewed to make the determination that the President was in fact Hawaii born is quite relevant, since the State of Hawaii switched all of its birth records from hard copy to digital in 2001.
Almost all news commentators, including Chris Mathews of MSNBC recently, have assumed that Dr. Fukino's October 31, 2008 statement meant she had physically viewed the original hard copy of the President's 1961 birth certificate. Yesterday's statement seems to indicate it is more likely that Dr. Fukino viewed an electronic record and not a physical hard copy, but it is still not definitive.
The liberal blog TPM agrees with me that Dr. Fukino made a very serious public relations error when she failed (until last month) to disclose that the Department of Health went digital only in 2001. Here's what they said in a blogpost yesterday:
"A lot of time and effort could have been saved if Hawaiian officials had said from the beginning that the long
forms for every person born in Hawaii from 1908 to 2001 were discarded in 2001."
We can summarize the facts to date as follows:
There is absolutely no evidence to support the "birther" claim that Obama was born in Kenya.
There is significant secondary evidence (the 2007 Certification of Live Birth, Contemporaneous 1961 Newspaper birth announcements) to support the argument Obama was born in Hawaii.
However, though primary evidence of his birth in Hawaii is thought to exist in hard copy form in Kapiolani Hospital (which he claims as his birthplace) this data has not been released.
The State of Hawaii Department of Health Statements, rather than shedding light on the source of primary evidence in their possession, have fueled suspicions that information is being withheld. And, in fact, some relevant information has been withheld.