Fact Check

Did a Captured Islamic State Leader Have Barack Obama On Speed Dial?

A "satirical" site claimed that the unlocked iPhone of an Islamic State operative contained the contacts of several prominent world leaders, including the former United States president.

Published March 13, 2018

 (Gregory Reed / Shutterstock.com)
Image courtesy of Gregory Reed / Shutterstock.com
A captured Islamic State leader's cell phone contained the phone numbers of world leaders, including former President Barack Obama.

On 11 March 2018, hoax site Daily World Update published an article containing the claim that an Islamic State operative's iPhone contained the phone numbers of former United States President Barack Obama and other world leaders:

When Russian forces delivered Asam al Alasam, the ISIS Supreme Leader in Iraq, to the American airbase as promised, he had an item with him they did not expect. Al Alasam had a nearly new, unlocked iPhone X. The phone was unscrambled and not secure at all, so it was believed to be a personal and family use phone.

Still, the army chief engineer wanted it looked at. After nearly six weeks of unblocking text and manipulating code, they found a hidden phone list with direct numbers to some of the most powerful men on the planet.

Al Alasam had Barack Obama, Justin Trudeau, Malcolm Reynolds, Sandy Batt AND President Dale Goff all on speed dial. Just knowing Sandy Batt is a crime in Russia.

Daily World Update appears to be a sister site to Last Line of Defense, an outlet that publishes outrage-inducing clickbait under the auspices of satire. The piece's credited author (Flagg Eagleton) was associated with Last Line of Defense, and a footer for Daily World Update contains a disclaimer apparently identical to its companion:


sat·ire ~ˈsaˌtī(ə)r
the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, OR ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

If you disagree with the definition of satire or have decided it is synonymous with “comedy,” you should really just move along.

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.