Drudge Promotes Birther Conspiracy Theory About Obama's Social Security Number
Blog ››› ››› ANDY NEWBOLD
The Drudge Report has reignited the bogus claim that President Obama's Social Security number is illegitimate.
On Wednesday, WND columnist and noted conspiracy theorist Jack Cashill reported on a court filing challenging the legitimacy of Obama's Social Security number. Today, Drudge linked to Cashill's column with the headline "Obama's Social Security Number challenged...":
Cashill's column seized on the point that the first three digits of Obama's Social Security number are exclusive to individuals who register in Connecticut. But the Social Security Administration explained that "the Area Number [the first three digits of an SSN] does not necessarily represent the State of residence of the applicant":
Prior to 1972, cards were issued in local Social Security offices around the country and the Area Number represented the State in which the card was issued. This did not necessarily have to be the State where the applicant lived, since a person could apply for their card in any Social Security office. Since 1972, when SSA began assigning SSNs and issuing cards centrally from Baltimore, the area number assigned has been based on the ZIP code in the mailing address provided on the application for the original Social Security card. The applicant's mailing address does not have to be the same as their place of residence. Thus, the Area Number does not necessarily represent the State of residence of the applicant, either prior to 1972 or since.
As the urban legends website Snopes noted, the ZIP code for the Honolulu area, 96814, is very similar to the ZIP code of Danbury, Connecticut, 06814:
Why Barack Obama's Social Security card application might have included a Connecticut mailing address is something of a curiosity, as he had no known connection to that state at the time, but by itself that quirk is no indicator of fraud. The most likely explanation for the discrepancy is a simple clerical or typographical error: the ZIP code in the area of Honolulu where Barack Obama lived is 96814, while the ZIP code for Danbury, Connecticut, is 06814. Since '0' and '9' are similarly shaped numbers and are adjacent on typewriter keyboards, it's not uncommon for handwritten examples to be mistaken for each other, or for one to be mistyped as the other (thereby potentially resulting in a Hawaiian resident's application mistakenly being routed as if it had originated from Connecticut).
The Drudge Report has joined Rush Limbaugh in hyping this inflammatory lie about Obama. During the May 7 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh asked in response to a caller who cast doubt on Obama's birth certificate: "What are your thoughts on the fact that Obama's Social Security number is from Connecticut, and he's never been there?"