Former US President Barack Obama became a victim of hoax after a report claimed that he was arrested for espionage. The fake claim was reported by the Conservative Beaver, a Canadian conservative news site.
Obama recently released his memoir called 'The Promised Land'. The book sold more than 1.7 million copies in North America within the first week of its release, almost equaling the combined first week sales of memoirs by his immediate predecessors.
What Were the Fake Claims Being Made in the Viral Report ?
In its report published on Nov. 28 the website, Conservative Beaver, published an article headlined, 'Former President Barack Obama arrested for ESPIONAGE'. The article was published under the opinion section of the site.
The article claimed that the former US President was arrested on a charge that he conspired with a business partner of his who also was a former CIA officer to communicate classified information up to the Top Secret level to intelligence officials of the People's Republic of China (PRC).
"The Criminal Complaint containing the charge was unsealed this morning," the article read. To strengthen its claim even further, the article included a video of a YouTuber claiming Obama was arrested, citing the Conservative Beaver story as evidence.
The article also stated that Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii Kenji M. Price, Assistant Director of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division Alan E. Kohler Jr., and Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Honolulu Field Office Eli S. Miranda made the announcement, which was blacked out from the US media.
Social Media Lights Up with Fake Claims Regarding the Arrest
According to Reuters, a Google search of the statements made by U.S. attorneys and quoted by the website, the article leads to a DOJ press release about the detainment of Alexander Yuk Ching Ma, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer who was arrested on Aug. 14. The release, however, makes no mention of Barack Obama, stated the outlet.
Despite the claims being fake, the social media turned edgy with users talking about the same. "Was watching Michael Jaco on his YouTube site showing articles that Barack Obama was arrested November 28 let's wait and see if this is true," tweeted a user.
"Hearing unconfirmed reports that Barack Obama has just been arrested for practicing sharia law and doing a communism," tweeted another.
"Why are reports coming from Canada that Barack Obama was arrested for espionage? Is the U.S. having a media block out?" wrote another.
"Evidently Barak Obama has been arrested in Hawaii and charged with Espionage according to an announcement by Assistant Attorney General for National Security, John C. Demers on Saturday 28 Nov," tweeted a user.