President Trump attends the Congressional Republican Leadership retreat at Camp David in Maryland on Jan. 6. (Reuters)
A person appears to have stolen someone’s identity to nominate President Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize — for the second year in a row.
Olav Njolstad, director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute and secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which awards the Peace Prize, told The Washington Post via email that it appears the same person is responsible for both forged nominations. The perpetrator had pretended to be someone else to make the nomination, Njolstad said — someone who was qualified.
“We receive many invalid nominations each year in the sense that they don’t meet the deadline or the nominator is not in fact qualified to nominate,” Njolstad said. “But to my knowledge this is the first example of a forged nomination where someone has stolen the identity of another person.”
Njolstad said he discovered that the Trump nominations were forged when he called the person whose name was listed as the nominator, who confirmed that the nominations were a fraud. Njolstad declined to reveal the identity or gender of that person. He has filed a report with the Oslo Police District for investigation.
Oslo Inspector Rune Skjold, head of the economic crimes section, told The Post that police did not know the location of the person who sent the forged nominations when asked whether they came from the United States. However, he said Oslo police have contacted the FBI for assistance. The perpetrator, he said, had used the same false identity two years in a row.
The process for Nobel Prize nominations and selections is secretive and has been so since the prize’s inception in 1901. The names of the nominees and any information about how the winners were selected cannot be revealed for 50 years. Nominators must meet various criteria to qualify. They can be, among other things, members of national governments or heads of state, certain university professors, former Peace Prize winners, and current and former members or advisers of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
Njolstad said the committee routinely reviews nominations for authenticity, “and this time the routine check showed there was cause for concern.” He said he was limited in the details he could provide due to the ongoing police investigation.
This year, there are 329 candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize, the second-highest number of candidates ever, just behind 2016’s 376 candidates. Of the 329 candidates, 217 are individuals and 112 are organizations. Last year’s winner was the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, of Switzerland.
Over the past 10 years, Nobel Peace Prize winners have included Malala Yousafzai in 2014, who had been attacked by the Taliban after campaigning for girls’ education in Pakistan; Liu Xiaobo in 2010, the Chinese dissident who was imprisoned by China at the time he was awarded the prize, and President Obama in 2009, whose selection was controversial given he had just sent more than 30,000 troops to Afghanistan a week before accepting it and it was only months into his presidency. Obama is one of four U.S. presidents who have been awarded the prize. The others were Jimmy Carter, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.
The 2018 winner will be announced in October, followed by a ceremony in Oslo on Dec. 10.
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