We’re going to look at a few pages from Stanley Ann Dunham Obama Soetoro’s alleged passport files, which were released under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. We have many questions about these pages, especially because requests concerning “White House equities”, ever since 2009, “need” to be routed through the White House, as revealed by a recently disclosed memo.
In 2009 the FOIA was effectively rewritten or extra-legally “amended” by former White House Counsel Greg Craig to ensure the White House has hands-on oversight. One wonders, then, why these particular pages were released to the public and not redacted, as so many other documents have been heavily redacted out of alleged concern for the “privacy” of living people (that being Barack Obama, among others, such as his sister).
Below is the first page in question:
The page seen above is an application by Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro (henceforth referred to as Ann) to renew a previously issued passport (#F777788, which was dated July 19, 1965). She made the renewal (not amendment) request on August 13, 1968 (only days after her son Barry’s alleged 7th birthday). Ann made the application from Djakarta, Indonesia, where she then resided. She listed no current U.S. residence. She affirmed at that time that she was a U.S. citizen, born in Wichita, KS, on November 29, 1942 (with the 2 in the year appearing overwritten).
Ann paid $5.00 and received a renewal through July 18, 1970, which apparently was the remainder of the 5 years for which a 1965 passport would have been valid. Implicit in this application is the presumption that either the July 1965 passport was her first passport (originally issued under the name Soetoro) or else that at some point prior to August 1968, she had already amended the 1965 passport to reflect her new married name. Apparently, she did amend the passport: On June 29, 1967, Ann applied to change the name on her passport to “Stanley Ann Soetoro” (see here and here). Why she then used the fuller name “Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro” when she applied in 1968 to renew that same passport remains a mystery. (The 1967 amendment will be discussed later.)
Whatever the case, this seems to indicate that the passport issued in July of 1965 was not under her newest married name. (Ann had married Soetoro in March 1965, just four months before.) Apparently Ann decided to retain her previous name (whatever it was on her passport) until she changed her mind in June 1967, and amended her passport to read Soetoro. Perhaps it was easier or safer for her, now living in Indonesia, to use an Indonesian surname.
The 1965 passport itself might have represented a renewal of a previous passport, issued either in her maiden name or her alleged first married name, Obama. Oddly enough (or not), the application for the passport of July 1965 is very conveniently missing and possibly destroyed. No other passport records for Ann prior to that date have been released, which is not to say that they never existed. They may also have been conveniently “lost” or “destroyed”, even though the rules seem to require retention of applications for 100 years. The documents were allegedly not found and so were not released to the public, even though multiple backups of the database are regularly created.
Note that there are multiple passport record databases (PRISM, TDIS, PIERS, PLOTS, MIS, and CLASP). One or more of these databases were illegally accessed in 2008 by an employee of a current member of Obama’s administration (John Brennan), effectively, an anonymous source stated, “cauterizing” Obama’s passport files of “embarrassing” information. Even so, it’s highly unlikely anyone would have been able to “cauterize” all the backups, too.
It could be important for someone to hide the existence of any previous passport that Ann may have possessed, such as a passport issued 5 years before the one dated July 1965. She may have been issued a passport in July 1960, after she graduated from high school and right about the time that her family moved to Hawaii, where she subsequently is said to have almost immediately met Barry’s African father, got impregnated by him, and then married him.
In late 1965, now married to Indonesian citizen Lolo Soetoro, Ann may have been planning to relocate to his country. We might presume that she obtained or renewed a passport in anticipation of the move. Her husband eventually preceded her to Indonesia in July 1966, where he allegedly made preparations for Ann and Barry to join him. Barry and his mother, according to Barry’s memoir, were awaiting immunizations and passports for about a year.
Returning to the 1968 renewal application: On the page shown above, Ann gave the name of the person to notify in case of emergency as “Stanley Armour Dunham, Bank of Hawaii, Honolulu”. Despite instructions to the contrary, she provided no relationship, street address, or even state (although Hawaii can be inferred).
But her father never worked for the Bank of Hawaii and, at that time, his wife, Madelyn, was not yet a vice president at the bank. Although she worked there in some capacity, she presumably was not yet an officer of the bank. Why didn’t Ann use her mother as the emergency contact, if she used her mother’s place of employment for the address, an incomplete address at that? If she wanted to use her father as the emergency contact, why did she not use his home address? Did she not know where her own father lived? It makes no sense.
How could anyone contact Stanley Armour Dunham at the bank without a complete address? In 1968, did they have the Yellow Pages for Honolulu, Hawaii, in Jakarta, Indonesia (or anywhere else in the world that Ann planned to travel)? Even if someone managed to find the correct address, would the U.S. Postal Service deliver a letter addressed to a man at a location where he neither lived nor worked? How could anyone find a phone number, without an address? Surely the bank had more than one location. Since Ann’s father never worked at the bank, he wouldn’t be in the employee directory, so how could anyone associate him with a particular branch or office?
In August of 1968, Ann indicated that she was “indefinite” about her travel plans or any eventual permanent stay in the USA. She was also “indefinate” [sic] about plans to continue to reside abroad, although she did state that she was “married to an Indonesian citizen.”
Ann signed her name as it was indicated on the top of the application, with “Dunham” as part of her middle name. The form was “affirmed” by the vice consul of the U.S. embassy, whose name was given as Alphonse F. La Porta. There’s supposed to be a seal on the form, but none is readily visible.
At that time, La Porta was chief of the consular office for whom vice consuls worked. La Porta had a long career in the foreign service, with many years in Muslim-connected or dominated areas, such as Indonesia, Sumatra, Malaysia, Bali, Turkey, Kosovo, and Brunei, among others. [Emphasis added to quotes; comments added in brackets.]
[La Porta] enrolled in the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, graduating in 1960. … He then decided to pursue a Master’s degree at New York University from 1960 to 1962 after which he entered the U.S. Army where he worked in Army Intelligence. He finished his enlistment in 1963 and began to pursue his Ph.D. at Georgetown University when he was recruited to work at the National Security Agency. …
He entered the Foreign Service in 1965. His first assignment was to the Office of Planning and Management. [A notable gap here. See below.] From 1967 to 1970 he was Political Officer and Chief of the Consular Section in the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta.
Years later, La Porta was made ambassador to Mongolia, under President Bill Clinton. A 203-page interview of La Porta, from 2004, reveals that La Porta and Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro might have crossed paths many times and likely knew each other personally, although she is not mentioned in that particular interview and, in fact, the only current connection found between these two persons on Internet search engines appears to relate to a claim on Wikipedia that La Porta was dragged into “conspiracy theories” by Orly Taitz, because he attested to Ann’s passport paperwork. Quite curious.
One must wonder why no reporter has bothered to look La Porta up to ask about his memories of the future president’s mother, or her black son, whom he may have known, too. After all, Barry’s memoir says that his mother worked at the U.S. embassy, where Barry was wont to visit her. Only last month, La Porta attached his name to a letter to Obama, opposing three nominees for ambassadorships based upon perceived inexperience and political motivations.
In the 2004 interview, La Porta stated that he first arrived in Indonesia in April 1965 (p. 36), as chief of the consular section. He described the political conditions around that time:
Ambassador Marshall Green had arrived only six months or so before we arrived. The embassy had been evacuated and families were just starting to come back to the mission in early 1967. [Families like the Soetoros?] There was a general lack of clarity, although what was clear was that the United States was banking on the army under Suharto to restore stability and to create conditions to get the economy moving. In this regard, USAID (United States Agency for International Development) had just reestablished its mission as a small unit in the embassy and the multilateral organizations — the World Bank, IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme)–were moving in (p. 37).
His assignment at the consular office, he says, was from
’65 to ’67 and then I switched over to the political section (p. 41).
So there’s a problem here.
La Porta, by his own admission, was not assigned to the consular office in August 1968, when Ann’s passport renewal application was processed, nor was La Porta a vice consul, as indicated on the renewal application by the word “vice” having been typed in (in red, along with other information typed in red.) However, these titles are tricky and depend upon other information, such as whether or a not person is a career officer in the Foreign Service, by whom the person was appointed (Secretary of State or POTUS), issues of diplomatic immunity, and sometimes even what title various countries expect or require the person to hold.
Nevertheless, La Porta said he was chief of the office, when he was there, which apparently he was not, at least not in August 1968. That’s a full 8 months into ’68. Perhaps he was simply mistaken, although it’s interesting that his assignment prior to 1967 is omitted from the Wikipedia article cited above and also from the other bio linked earlier. The positions and dates listed at the beginning of the text of the interview appear to be a timeline for the topics discussed, not a set-in-concrete resume. La Porta clearly stated in the interview that he switched to the political office from the consular office before 1968.
It’s of note that the positions of consular officer and political officer vary greatly. Consular officers, among other duties, facilitate adoptions. Political officers, on the other hand, talk to and negotiate with foreign government officials. A political officer would not be vetting passport renewals.
La Porta mentioned in the interview that his vice consul at the time was Dick La Rocha, even joking about how people were always mixing them up due to the similarity of their surnames (p. 39). That he refers to his vice consul further suggests that his own title was not vice consul, but perhaps chief consul or even simply consul.
La Porta also stated that his wife, Ann Winget La Porta, was
in charge of the American Women’s Association welcome committee, so new Americans arriving in Jakarta would get a visit from my wife (p.40).
Did Ann La Porta visit the other Ann to welcome her to Jakarta? It’s likely that both La Portas knew Ann Soetoro, considering her work there and the fact that the American community in Jakarta was relatively tiny, due in no small part to violent unrest during the mid-1960s.
Throughout the interview, La Porta mentioned working with many other organizations over the years, including USAID (for which Ann worked); the Asian Development Bank (for which Ann later worked); Aramco and Mobil Oil (Lolo Soetoro was employed in the oil business); and the Soros Open Society Institute (the latter reference found on p. 173).
In the interview, La Porta discusses his on-going training in the Indonesian language during 1966 and 1967, when he was already living in Indonesia. Coincidentally, Ann taught English at the U.S. embassy beginning in January 1968 until early 1970; she sometimes brought her son Barry to work with her. Maybe La Porta didn’t notice him. Ann later taught languages at a not-for-profit that, by its very nature, would have been in close contact with the U.S. embassy’s political office. From a book by Janny Scott:
The Suharto government was embarking on a five-year plan, but Indonesia had few managers with the training to put the new economic policies into practice. The school, called the Institute for Management Education and Development, … had been started several years earlier by … Father A. M. Kadarman, with the intention of helping build an Indonesian elite. … In 1970, the Ford Foundation made the first in a series of grants to the institute to expand the faculty and send teachers abroad for training. At about the same time, Father Kadarman hired Ann …
Ann’s first husband, Barack Hussein Obama Sr., was said to be part of a similar program designed to build a Kenyan elite. After his education in the USA, he planned to return to Kenya to become part of his country’s elite.
When Ann was working at the Institute for Management Education and Development, La Porta was working as a political officer at the embassy, so he should certainly have been aware of, maybe even involved in, a Suharto government initiative being facilitated by the Ford Foundation. A biography from 2012 reveals more about La Porta:
He also co-chairs the Southeast Asia area studies course at the Foreign Service Institute, U.S. Department of State, and is a consultant on Asian affairs to the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii. In 2008-09, he served as chief of party for Development Alternatives International (DAI) on a USAID project to advise the foreign ministry in Pristina, Kosovo.
He is a board member of the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), the Malaysian-American Society, and the Friends of Mongolia and is an advisor to the Hawaii-Indonesia Chamber of Commerce.
Ann and Lolo Soetoro were both students at the East-West Center before they moved to Indonesia with little Barry. The East-West Center has subsequently published several works written by La Porta. La Porta’s later career closely parallels the interests specific to Ann Soetoro’s career–economic and political development in particular.
Off topic but perhaps of interest, in the lengthy interview, La Porta had less than glowing opinions to offer about Newt Gingrich (p. 149), Donald Rumsfeld (pp. 183-198), that “cowboy” George W. Bush (p. 124; p. 193), and Condi Rice (p. 119; p. 203).
La Porta did, however, offer interesting perspectives about what was going on in Indonesia at the time that Ann allegedly took her very young son into the thick of things, where, according to La Porta, every American was suspected of being CIA (p. 52; pp. 98-99).
To be continued …
h/t Papoose for the idea for this post.