Although he was preaching the 'Born in Kenya' gospel in the summer of 2008, it wasn't until November 2009, over a year after the Presidential election, that Bancroft made a stunning announcement: he had met teenage Obama in a Hawaii shop in 1980, and teenage Obama had personally told him that he was born in Kenya.
Indeed, according to Bancroft, teenage Obama told him that he was born specifically in Mombasa. And that he was from mixed-race parentage. And that he grew up in Indonesia. And that he wanted to be President when he grew up.
In subsequent tellings, teenage Obama's confessional to Bancroft grew even more thorough, with the young man also saying that he was living in Hawaii with people who weren't his parents and stating that the old black cook in the shop was his father.
Oh, and when he finally decided to share his story with the world on November 16, 2009, where did Bancroft first publish it? At Alan Peters' Anti-Mullah. Yes, at the blog of the same man who began the 'Born in Kenya' rumor the year before. Indeed, Bancroft and Peters have been affiliated with each other since at least 2005. They've even appeared on the radio together.
Still, it wasn't the details of Bancroft's Obama story that impelled this post. Nor was it his friendship with Alan Peters. Nor was it his fanciful claim of having named the Tamil Tigers.
No, what drove this post was Bancroft's story of meeting another politically-connected person in 1980. In the same story that appeared on Anti-Mullah, Bancroft wrote:
I met the son of G. Gordon Liddy on board the USS Okinawa in 1980 when we were heading to Iran.Sounds plausible enough, right? Certainly more plausible than a random encounter with a teenage Obama who spilled his entire life story and personal secrets to a random stranger. I'd always written the Liddy story off as a perfunctory detail in the story, an attempt to disguise the piece's Birther motivations.
My ship was part of the 31st Marine Amphibious Unit, deployed in January 1980 from Pearl Harbor as normal, and once in Subic Bay , Philippines , President Jimmy Carter announced what is now called, “The Carter Doctrine”. As I remember it, some group of men were standing near the port side of the hanger deck, just milling around near some open hatchway, and I noticed they were inspecting some military equipment, don’t remember what, but I saw this person’s name written on his trousers, “LIDDY”...
So, I find myself standing next to a 6’2” man about 28 or so with the name LIDDY on his trousers, and I asked him, “Hey, are you related to Gordon Liddy?” His answer surprised me totally, “Yes, that's my father”. The likeness was now apparent and unmistakable and since then, I have read how one of his sons was a Navy SEAL at that time, so, that is who I met. What was embarrassing for me, was I was struck, he was among the famous persons I met while in the Corps, I commented how his dad never ratted anyone out, and he said, “No, He didn’t”. I was filled with wonder at meeting him and I told him that it felt like I was talking to a celebrity. That didn’t go over too well, his face changed it’s stoic expression to one of , “You’re annoying me” and a blonde man next to me spoke up, “Uh, You’re talking to my Lieutenant here…”
Except the Liddy story is undeniably false, it is provably so. James G. Liddy is a former Navy SEAL and the son of G. Gordon Liddy. How do we know that James Bancroft absolutely did not meet him in the summer of 1980?
1) Jim Liddy was 20 in 1980, not 28.
2) Jim Liddy was not on the USS Okinawa in 1980.
3) Jim Liddy was not a Lieutenant in 1980.
4) Jim Liddy was not a Navy SEAL in 1980.
5) In fact, Jim Liddy did not even join the U.S. Navy until 1985.
Yet Bancroft quotes the young man as confirming a familial relationship and says that "the likeness was now apparent and unmistakable." Basically, the entire story is utter crap from top to bottom.
The first of these discrepancies was brought to Bancroft's attention within a matter of days. His reaction was to stand by his supposed memories, but claim the officer lied to him about being the son of a convicted felon.
And so when Bancroft published a "revised" version of his story a few days later on another website (which had posted his original version the day after Alan Peters did), he made some changes to the Liddy part of his tale:
While on ship, I met the son of a famous political figure connected to the Watergate scandal on board the USS Okinawa in 1980 when we were heading to Iran....I saw this person’s name written on his trousers, the same name as that political figure.He simply removed all the references to the name "Liddy." The entire description of the event remains the same. His claim that he met the son of a convicted Nixon conspirator remains the same. Even the "apparent and unmistakable" family resemblance is still there.
This political figure was the chief of certain operations in the Nixon White House....So, I find myself standing next to a 6’2″ man about 28 or so with the name on his trousers, and I asked him, “Hey, are you related to that man” His answer surprised me totally, “Uh, Yes, he’s my father”. The likeness was now apparent and unmistakable and since then, I have read how one of his sons was in the military at that time, so, that is who I met.
Bancroft had already learned that his story of meeting Liddy's son could not possibly be true, but his response wasn't to cut the anecdote or even to rewrite it to propose he had been the target of a joke. No, he left the anecdote in, continued to treat it as factual, and simply scrubbed it of all the specific references that could be used to show it was an impossible event. He continued to tell the story, even as he knew it was completely false.
In short, Bancroft's story spotlighted two supposed celebrity encounters in 1980. One (Obama) with absolutely zero confirmable details, and another (Liddy) that was capable of independent confirmation. And the one that was capable of independent confirmation was independently, and conclusively, debunked. Moreover, Bancroft's response to the debunking was not to drop the anecdote; it was to scrub the anecdote of the specific details that made such a debunking possible.
And amazingly, other FreeRepublic Birthers continue to promote Bancroft's personal myth on the grounds that he is a "credible" source.