November 1st, 2008
01:09 PM ET
5 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. Betty, Virginia

    I would like to know who leaked the information. I don't believe it makes a difference in the Obama campaign but I believe someone did think it would. I would like to know who is using immigration information for political gain. Wow, I'm thinking we need to rename my former party as rovepublicans... UGLY UGLY UGLY!

    GOBAMA!!!!!

    November 1, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  2. Kate

    This is about basic privacy that was invaded. And as the article notes, it is against the law for the agency to disclose an individual's status. Not Barack's but this distant relative. She didn't decide to run for public office. She wasn't trying to insert herself into the public eye (a la Joe the Plumber). Just as I don't think it was news that Joe McCain misused the 911 system and cursed at the operator, this is also not news. One can choose one's friends but not one's family. And, by the way, I'm a hardworking, Christian, mother of twins who believes strongly in personal responsibility and an ardent Obama supporter.

    November 1, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  3. Andrew From The Bronx

    Another Family That Barry Has Looked Over!!!!!!!!

    November 1, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  4. JS

    It is amazing to me that Americans can be so ignorant as to elect a president that does not even salute the American flag!!! A bunch of stupid lambs following each other to slaughter! All of the Islamic countries are laughing at our stupidity. They love him they want him and where do you think all of his money comes from?? Can you say Bin Ladin!!!! Better read your bible quick!! His name is all over it!! ]]

    November 1, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  5. Steven

    The Ugly Republican Party will try anything at this moment in history. I feel so sad for our children who are being brought up in a country divided and full of hatred as a result of these selfish and ignorant people. They are not Americans, they should all be shipped to some place that would welcome them, like the Sahara Desert.

    November 1, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  6. sick n tired

    Anyone with half a brain can clearly see whats going on! No confirmation needed! REPUBLICAN SCUM AT WORK!!!!!!!!

    November 1, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. President George Hussien Washington

    ...and why has Palin not released her medical records, would it verify that there was no pregnancy???????????

    November 1, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  8. anotherview

    Conyers thinks coverup is the way to go and yet another of Obama's crew that thinks news suppression is the law of Obamaland, and any violation must be paid for.

    November 1, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  9. MaryanneAZ formerly from Boston, MA

    In the long history of this Country many have overstayed their Visas and green card expirations. I would wager that many of us third and fourth generation "Americans" are the progeny of illegals who arrived here from Ireland, Poland, Italy and other foreign countries seeking a better life. I certainly would not want anyone checking my old Irish ancestors for their official papers. The issue of an older aunt who overstayed her Visa and lives in public housing (have any of you seen Boston public housing?–its disgusting and unliveable for the most part–Boston police joking refer to the buildings as self-cleaning ovens) is completely irrelevant to Senator Obama's campaign and our vote. For those who argue that Obama should somehow finance all of his poor African relatives here and there, that notion is absurd. A lot of us have a hard time giving $5 to the Red Cross in this Country. Come on.

    November 1, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. Andrew From The Bronx

    I wonder if she peaks ENGLISH

    November 1, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  11. JACKED-UP-POLITICS, FLORIDA

    Who gives a rats azzzzzzzzzzzzz. There are many illegals here. The GOP has not make a stink about them now so why start. If you are going to send one round them up and send them all out!!!!

    Don't be selective

    November 1, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  12. really?

    Glen Combe, if this woman donated $260 to obama like you said, than Obama did do something illegal and this is significant. The campaigns are not allowed to accept money from foreign nationals, so right there Obama just failed.

    Honestly, though representative, the fact that you're asking now who leaked the info but you didn't say anything after the media's lynching of joe the plumber. Hypocrites disgust me.

    McCain 08/Romney 12

    November 1, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  13. roxyb

    I'd like to know how many of you out there are accountable for their aunt's, uncles and other relations actions. Let them cast the first stone.

    November 1, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  14. Ruth

    This is McCain, Bush and Palin at work again. CRY BABIES who will do anything to get elected. Not working this time.

    November 1, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  15. David

    The leak does not matter. If she is illegal, get her out of here.That's about right Demos, someone you like is doing wrong then blame it on Bush and McCain. Grow up.

    November 1, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  16. Jay

    ed you wasn't going to vote for Obama anyway. Now look at how things come about. The Republicans are getting information and leaks from higher authority and yet even McCain campaign is not touching it because it will being it back to them. They are studpid but playing it safe. So if you want the sane old politics of four more years of George Bushhhhhhhhh then yes take your vote to McCain. You will be sorry sir.

    November 1, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    i thought that the families were off limits?

    well since they're not now...they should investigate wheather sarah palin gave birth to trigg, and bristol's medical records should be released...and why haven't palin released those medical records yet?

    there's something shady about todd palin too...i think he should be investigated.

    November 1, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  18. Trish

    Oh for God's sake. It has been out there for a long time. Are some people just now learnign about it? Guess it depends where you go to find the info. If she is breaking the law Obama should know about it since it is his aunt and if he didn't know, it doesn't say much for his relationship with her. And futhermore, why do we not see any of his family members besides Michelle and daughters? What is he hiding??

    November 1, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  19. Jacob

    If his aunt is an issue, Palin's pregnant daughter, her high school drop out son, her Alaska Independance Party husband, and John McCain's philandering on his disabled wife should be issues.

    November 1, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  20. Sarah- ARIZONA

    Republicans are so desperate. She is is estranged half aunt whom he barely has had any contact with.

    this is a joke.

    families are off limits

    November 1, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  21. ken

    if she is his real aunt ,then why is she haveing such that the area she came form has it's problems, but most off all it seems her hard time , we all know that since she is a blood relitive to a possoble president canidate, that it is very in portant to keep her in the u.s. now that her relation is possible for him to be the next leader of this country and a possible loss of his grand mother very soon, thay this woman may be the only family he has here and it would be a tragety to send her back now. ken

    November 1, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  22. HouseDiva

    i thought that the families were off limits?

    well since they're not now...they should investigate wheather sarah palin gave birth to trigg, and bristol's medical records should be released...and why haven't palin released those medical records yet?

    there's something shady about todd palin too...i think he should be investigated.

    November 1, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  23. Suspicious

    I question the whole thing. This is either a full out lie, a half truth, or has been reported with with the most pertinent details that make it a total non-story missing. This sells papers, gets people readng stories, gives the media something else to drone on about, and sells advettising space, but it does nothing to effect the outcome of the election. What it has done is probably adversely effected the life of another innocent person with what is 99% likely to be as false a story as the story about the mentally disturbed lady the McCain campaign couldn't wait to promote. It's not going to work this time. Advice Republicans: read the story about the boy crying wolf and get a clue!

    November 1, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  24. Joanna

    Ok how is that Obama responsibility. I have no idea what my aunts and uncles, ect and what not are up too. As my three yr old said after watching the Obama info commercial" He going to change the world, but he isn't a prefect man". So cute.

    November 1, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  25. Hopeful

    Whats wrong with this title?

    Obama's aunt MAY be Illegal immigrant

    To No Hillary = No Obama
    Get a life

    This Joe the plumber stuff is a joke. Does anyone realize that the Joe the Plumber that McCain and Palin refer to is anyone that makes over $250,000 not your average plumber who makes about $60,000

    God bless America, Lord knows we need it.

    November 1, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
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