FACT CHECK: Was Barack Obama Arrested For Espionage?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims former President Barack Obama was arrested for espionage on Nov. 28.

Verdict: False

There is no evidence that Obama has been arrested. The quotes in the Conservative Beaver article come from a press release about the arrest of a former CIA officer.

Fact Check:

The image shows a screen grab of a Conservative Beaver article, titled, “Former President Barack Obama arrested for ESPIONAGE,” that was published Nov. 28. The Conservative Beaver is a self-described Canadian conservative news website that publishes “news from your favourite alternative sources.”

“Barack Obama, a former President of the US, was arrested on Nov. 28, 2020, 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),” reads the article, in part. It goes on to claim that a judge ordered a “media blackout” in the U.S. that Canadian and Spanish-language outlets are not subject to and, thus, have reported on the development.

There is, however, no evidence Obama has been arrested. The Daily Caller News Foundation didn’t find any U.S. or international news outlets reporting on the supposed arrest. The Department of Justice (DOJ) website likewise makes no mention of Obama being arrested for any crime. (RELATED: Did A DOJ Investigation Find That Barack Obama And George Soros Created Antifa?)

The article quotes Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers and other DOJ and law enforcement officials as commenting on the former president’s alleged arrest. Searching for the quotes online revealed that they actually come from an Aug. 17 DOJ press release about the arrest of Alexander Yuk Ching Ma, a former CIA officer charged with espionage. The article appears to have been lifted nearly word-for-word from the press release, only changing the name and date. There is no mention of Obama in that press release.

The Conservative Beaver has previously published misinformation. The DCNF recently debunked a false claim shared by the outlet that billionaire George Soros had been arrested for election-related crimes.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Reporter
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