November 1st, 2008
01:09 PM ET
6 years ago

Lawmaker wants to know source of leak on Obama's aunt

 Conyers called for an investigation into the leak over Obama’s aunt.
Conyers called for an investigation into the leak over Obama’s aunt.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A Democratic lawmaker on Saturday asked Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to investigate a leak to reporters regarding the immigration status of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's aunt, suggesting the Bush administration may have been behind it.

"I was startled to read in today's Associated Press that a 'federal law enforcement official' has leaked information about an immigration case involving a relative of Senator Obama," said a letter sent to Chertoff by Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee.

"Even more troubling, the AP reports that it 'could not establish whether anyone at a political level in the Bush administration or in the McCain campaign had been involved,' a very disturbing (suggestion) indeed," the letter said.

"This leak is deplorable and I urge you to take immediate action to investigate and discipline those responsible."

The AP reported Saturday that Obama's Kenyan aunt, Zeituni Onyango, is living in the United States illegally, even though an immigration judge rejected her request for asylum four years ago. The story cites two sources, one of them a federal law enforcement official.

CNN has not been able to independently verify the aunt's immigration status. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Kelly Nantel declined comment, saying the agency "is prohibited from commenting on any individual's status."

soundoff (404 Responses)
  1. james

    Hmmm! Half Aunt? It's still Obama's family

    November 1, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  2. tickerchill

    Now I get it. Obama's aunt is here illegally, in violation of a 4-year old judge's ruling, living in public housing, making illegal donations to Obama's campaign, but what needs investigating is who's responsible for revealing this information to the public?

    If this is the prevailing logic, an Obama victory Tuesday is inevitable.

    November 1, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  3. Joe

    Leaked from Cheney's missing emails!

    Palin's Medical Records ? – Monday SURPRISE

    Something's rotten in Denmark !!!

    November 1, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. Curt

    Who really gives a rat's @ss??? The smell of Republican desperation is so sweet in the morning.

    November 1, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. Lisa

    Yes well that sounds very Bushish and McCainish, you know dirty anything to try and win the election. This is not a game changer!!!

    November 1, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  6. Regina Powell

    The GOP is really desperate to dig this info. up, just like Shawn
    Hannity on Fox News. If they knew about her, why didn't they follow
    up and do their job. I have to say that this political campaign has
    been one of the most nasty, corrupt and very bias, to say the least.
    Now I know why that I'm voting for Senator Obama. It just shows you
    the under-handed ways the GOP handle any situation or crisis.
    People want to put "McShame & Numb Nuts" in the Whitehouse!
    Voters are worried about Obama, they better worry about the two
    GOP running mates. As I have stated earlier, I truly believe that
    Senator McCain is having "delayed war syndrum"! I have friends
    of mine who are still feeling the affects of the Viet Nam war and no
    one can tell me he isn't. Here we go another (3rd war) and lets not
    leave out all the young men and women who have died, when we
    shouldn't have gone into that country, it will not bring back those
    soldiers. Bush and McShame should pray every night for those
    young people and their families!! May God Help Us All!!!!

    R. Powell/Peoria, IL.

    November 1, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  7. Tom

    If it smells like a duck and it quacks like a duck it's a duck or in this case, another leak of the Bush/Cheney administration.

    November 1, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. Tom in Delaware

    Since she's here illegally, that's means here four canpaign donations were also illegal, as POTUS canidates may not recieve foreign donations.

    If the Obama Campaign can verify her four contributions, how come they can't account for the rest?

    November 1, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. Gobama

    This discloser is IRRESPONSIBLE, and is a likely source of danger on so many levels.

    November 1, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  10. Michael

    Hey JOE.

    Two words: Spell Check.

    Two more words: You moron.

    November 1, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  11. Misty

    For people who may have a problem with Obama's aunt being here illegaly: How many of us are immigrants and have family and friends who are here from their native countries– do you go around asking them if they are here legally???

    I do not think so!

    I have a lot of friends are foreign born– I have never asked them their religion, their resident status and their affiliation with any parties in the past-

    Republicans and conservative media are behinf this facade– and this is what they have come out with an October/November surprize - because Obama and Biden have a clean, just and honest record.

    Obama/Biden 08' and '12

    November 1, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  12. JJW

    First of all we have no idea if its true or not, so let's not jump to any conclusions. Here's the quote from the article.

    CNN has not been able to independently verify the aunt's immigration status. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Kelly Nantel declined comment, saying the agency "is prohibited from commenting on any individual's status."

    So it would appear that if this is confirmed, and is true, and as the quote said....the agency "is prohibited from commenting on any individual's status." ......who other than the agency was peeking into private files to get this information out??

    I have relatives all over the world. USA, Canada, Australia and some in European countries and I have absolutely no clue as to what their immigration status is. What's the big deal anyway? What has this to do with the price of vegetables?

    November 1, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  13. Voter

    So Palin likes Joe the Plumber. You know Joe the guy who has been divorced 2 times and has abuse charges filed against him. Isn't is funny that Joe is a great guy but Palin's brother-in-law is some kind of monster according to Palin, for divorcing her sister, so much so that she tried to get him fired. Will she try to get Joe fired for being the say kind of person as her brother-in-law, No, I didn't think so. What a joke, Palin is, she just uses people for her own gain. And now she is doing rallies without McCain's name even on the posters. McCain better watch his back around Palin she's pure evil.

    November 1, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  14. President George Hussien Washington

    You better call Joe the Plumber, there's a leak at the whitehouse

    November 1, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  15. Maggie from Virginia

    This is private information that should not be given to the public. This is the case for many reasons. One of them is for the safety and security of the individual. Another is to maintain law and order.

    This is breaking the Privacy Right Act that protects citizens and non citizens. As a government employee, I would be fired and brought up on charges if I disclosed this sort of information to the public. This is wrong on many levels. Heads will roll; even if it's not publicized.

    November 1, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  16. Andrew From The Bronx

    Deport her ASAP. She has been milking us American's fo our TAX DOLLAR. I wonder how many other's of OBAMA's family has been doing the same

    November 1, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  17. Lucy

    Okay, guys... based on what we have learned from the Republicans over the last eight years who have embraced Dick Cheney and Carl Rowe as the political insiders they aspire to be..... do you think it was a Republican, Democrat or Independent? Talk about the Republicans losing credibility. The Republicans should be very worried that they might have to stand trial for criminal acts they have committed in the name of politics over the years. If I was a Republican and I would not want a jury trial. Congratulations for the Democrats in taking immediate action to stop the Republicans in their tracks. Good to see some strong backbone and clean fighting.... the Democrats have learned that you can't sink to their dirty political game level without drowning.

    November 1, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  18. Alastair

    Mr Obama,
    Does not need to get involved with his Aunt's case or situation, the man who will be the best for all Americans is showing his true faith and patriotism as an American by believing in the Constitution and the Law of the Land. The matter has been dealt again by the greedy and self indulgent aspects of society that do not have the intellect or capacity to understand. To find ones faith and true spirit of man comes from within and when that is found you will feel humble and not seek to take but give. It is for the State to demonstrate some wisdom and publicly acknowledge Barack's Aunt is a member of his family and therefore deemed to be protected under the State as a member of a political leader. She could never be returned to Africa, it's just another distraction of doubt. The only loosers if this sways in anyway will be all citizens of the USA and the rest of the World.

    November 1, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  19. Carol, MD

    How many people keep track of their relatives (or half-relatives) let alone give them money....Honestly? Obama has "half-relatives" all over the place. His father, who he last saw 37 years ago, was married 3 times in Kenya, in addition to Obama's mother.

    This is so much a "non-story" I can't believe anybody broke the law (as a former govt employee, I know someone can get fired for this) to look it up and give it to the press.

    November 1, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  20. baleful

    As a person with 36 first cousins and lots of aunt and uncles – I have no idea where the majority of they are living either.

    Scooter? Scooter Libby? Are you back?

    November 1, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  21. james

    Will there be an investigation on all the other illegals in this country. I guess since she has connections, her paper work will go to the top of the stack.

    November 1, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  22. Independent in NC

    I do not believe that people are responsible for the actions of other members of their families (ie the aunt living here illegally), but the fact is that in this election people have been using family members as ammunition against the character of candidates. Otherwise we would not have heard one word from anyone about Cindy McCain's former drug use or Bristol Palin's pregnancy being a reflection of mothering skills.

    If anyone needs help in this country, it's the poor living in public housing – that's Obama's platform. So why is he ok with this woman living this way? She was important enough to mention in his book, is she not important enough to help with his multi-million dollar salary? Instead our lesser wealth is redistributed to take care of this woman. It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    November 1, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  23. Ridgeway

    Yeah, John help a brother out. Birds of a feather....

    November 1, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  24. ANA

    who cares! Ditto

    November 1, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  25. Diane

    I guess it was ok to pry into Joe the Plummers record. A citizen who asked a question to St. Obama. Different story for Obama relative, huh Mr. Conyers?

    November 1, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
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