Did President Joe Biden threaten to send F-15s and "wage war against Texas"? No, that's not true: A White House spokesman told Lead Stories the claim is false. Additionally, no credible news organization has reported the quote, which, if true, would have made international headlines and triggered a flood of public responses. One expert in digital forensics said the supposed recording of Biden threatening war on Texas was likely generated by artificial intelligence.
The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on Instagram on January 18, 2024. The post opened with a short recording that played over a message that read, "Biden's mic slip lol." A voice, supposedly the president's, then said:
We're going to make sure those cowboys don't stop the surge of military-aged men from entering. If we have to send F-15s to Texas here and wage war against Texas, then so be it.
This is what the post looked like on Instagram at the time of writing:
(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Fri Jan 19 19:45:30 2024 UTC)
Lead Stories contacted the White House to ask about the claim. In an email, dated January 19, 2024, spokesman Andrew Bates said it was false.
We also conducted a Google News search (archived here) for the terms "Biden AND 'wage war against Texas.'" The top two results showed fact checks proving that Biden did not threaten war on Texas. The remaining results showed that no credible news organization has reported the quote as true.
In a January 19, 2024, email response to a query by Lead Stories, Walter J. Scheirer, a professor in the department of computer science and engineering at the University of Notre Dame, noted the lack of information about the recording's origins and the fact that it was "posted anonymously to social media" as a "major technical red flag."
Similarly, Hany Farid, a University of California, Berkeley professor who studies digital forensics, misinformation and human perception, does not believe the quote is real. He said the recording was likely generated by artificial intelligence (AI). In an email, dated January 19, 2024, Farid wrote:
The background noise makes analyzing this audio with our models difficult. However, the cadence of the voice is typical of AI-generation, and given that we don't see President Biden speaking and that it would have been fairly easy to create this audio, I think it is likely that this is AI-generated.