Fake News: NOT A BOMBSHELL! NOT Proof Sean Hannity Was Spied On By Obama

Fact Check

  • by: Alan Duke
Fake News: NOT A BOMBSHELL! NOT Proof Sean Hannity Was Spied On By Obama

Was the release of Paul Manafort's text messages with Sean Hannity proof that the FOX News host was spied on by President Obama? No, that's not true: The texting transcripts released under a court order were collected during the Trump administration, not during the Obama years, and do not serve as any evidence -- much less proof -- of Obama spying on Hannity.

The story originated from an article published by The Federalist Papers on June 22, 2019 titled "BOMBSHELL! Proof Sean Hannity Was Spied On By Obama" (archived here) which opened:

Fox News host Sean Hannity has claimed for a long time that he was spied on by the administration of former President Obama.

But now the cat is out of the bag and the evidence is in and it show that they did, in fact, spy of the top rated host in cable news.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson unsealed text messages on Friday that contained text messages between Hannity and Paul Manafort.

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

BOMBSHELL! Proof Sean Hannity Was Spied On By Obama


The text exchanges were not collected during a spying operation by Obama's administration, but by Justice Department prosecutors working during the Trump administration as part of the investigation of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. The messages were exchanged months after Obama left office, according to CNN.

The texts were released along with the transcript of an April hearing where Judge Amy Berman Jackson was considering whether Manafort or his attorney Kevin Downing had violated a gag order through the communications.

The Federalist Papers article acknowledges this, but it still makes an unsupported claim that the timing doesn't matter because "many believe" it is true:

The documents were obtained after President Obama was no longer president but many believe, with reason, that he was behind the attempt to take down President Trump.

NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes thefederalistpapers.org as:

A website covering American politics and cultural issues. TheFederalistPapers.org's stories often make opinionated claims that are not supported by facts and are often not labeled as opinion.

According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:

  Alan Duke

Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke co-founded Lead Stories after ending a 26-year career with CNN, where he mainly covered entertainment, current affairs and politics. Duke closely covered domestic terrorism cases for CNN, including the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, the UNABOMBER and search for Southeast bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. CNN moved Duke to Los Angeles in 2009 to cover the entertainment beat. Duke also co-hosted a daily podcast with former HLN host Nancy Grace, "Crime Stories with Nancy Grace" and hosted the podcast series "Stan Lee's World: His Real Life Battle with Heroes & Villains." You'll also see Duke in many news documentaries, including on the Reelz channel, CNN and HLN.

Read more about or contact Alan Duke

About Us

International Fact-Checking Organization Meta Third-Party Fact Checker

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, misleading, deceptive or inaccurate stories, videos or images going viral on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Lead Stories LLC:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion