Birther favorite's new theory: Obama's a CIA mole

Even by Birther standards, this may be the movement's nuttiest turn yet

Published February 19, 2010 12:25AM (EST)

One of the loyal Birthers who regularly e-mails Salon -- and many other news outlets -- in an attempt to cajole the press into reporting the movement's latest bits of nuttiness came through with a real gem on Thursday. The latest bit of wisdom? Apparently President Obama was only enrolled at Columbia University as cover for his work supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan. (If you can figure out how this fits into the movement's overarching theory about Obama being ineligible for the presidency by virtue of his birth, you're smarter than I.)

The theory is, of course, ludicrous. But it's worth noting just to point out how absurd some of the Birthers' favorite sources really are. The man behind this twist is James David Manning, the pastor of ATLAH Worldwide Missionary Church in Harlem, which he founded. He's probably most known for having called Obama a "long legged mack daddy." That started the Birthers' love affair with him, and he's been a presence in the movement ever since -- it doesn't hurt that he's a black man who says racist things about Obama. He was there for their big press conference in 2008, and he and members of his congregation were basically the only people who showed up for Orly Taitz's big protest against Fox News in November of last year.

The video is below. The whole thing is silly, but the best part may be that Manning's central assertion is that Obama worked as a CIA liasion to the Taliban during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980's. The Taliban didn't exist until the 1990's, after the Soviets left.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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