Image circulating online

Fact checking the fake image of President Biden

NEWSROOM, 30 January — An image purporting to show President Biden in a military uniform during a critical defense meeting is circulating on the internet, particularly among Russian social media accounts.

This image has raised significant authenticity concerns and fits a pattern of misinformation reminiscent of past disinformation campaigns.

It comes at a delicate time, with the U.S. weighing up responses to a drone attack that saw three of its service members killed in Jordan and dozens more injured. Many fear this incident and any U.S. response may inflame an already volatile situation in the Middle East.

Historically, U.S. Presidents have refrained from wearing military attire while in office, a tradition rooted in the nation’s foundational principle of civilian control over the military. This norm was firmly established by President George Washington and has been upheld ever since, even by presidents with military backgrounds.

Notably, during the operation against Osama bin Laden, photographic documentation showed President Obama and his team in civilian clothes, with the exception of one military official in a service dress uniform, maintaining the standard for civilian leadership’s appearance.

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Furthermore, the military uniforms present in the photo are inconsistent in design and color, contrasting with the uniformity expected during formal military engagements. The U.S. military has several camouflage patterns it uses across different branches and for various environments, such as the Army Combat Uniform (ACU) with the Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP), or the Navy Working Uniform (NWU) with its distinct blue and grey digital camouflage. This image depicts neither of those designs.