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. Renata Nicole

    I hope who ever leaked this story gets in trouble. This story coming in the last 72 hours before election day is a desparate attempt. I also think it would be wise for McCain and his supporters to stay away from this story. McCain is already struggling with Hispanics and I don't think attacking this woman will help.

    November 1, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  2. Gimmeabreak

    THIS is the best they can do?

    Pathetic. McCainites get all dewy eyed and indignant when Palin's pregnant daughter and drug-problem son are discussed, "no, no families are OFF LIMITS" you nasty liberal media you!"

    But in the meantime they're digging around for this pathetic story. Let's see, a half-sister to the father who divorced Obama's mother when he was a baby, a father he only met once and who is now deceased...yep, I'm guessing that Obama knew all about that relative's situation (sarcasm).

    Give it up. Please. For a change why don't you tell us why someone should vote for McCain/Palin, instead of these BS attacks on the other side.

    I've never heard a opposing party give a candidate more free publicity. Thanks!

    November 1, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. MIKA

    BUSH 2'S ADMIN IS RIGHT BACK INTO THEIR OLD SCHOOL DIRTY GAMES ***LOOSERS!!!*****
    AMERICAN'S ARE TIRED OF EVERYTHING GOING UP BUT WAGES!

    MORE AN MORE PEOPLE CAN RELATE TO OBAMA'S THINKING!

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

    I keep hearing how family is off limits. Why did Palin's daughter become headline news. Grow up Obama supporters, this is an election and your guy has so much trash in his trunk. You should be glad this is what came out, I am still waiting on a video tape to be released and really let the public know about the type of person your Obama is. So if anyboby leaked this info, it is probably Obama himself. I am sure he would rather throw his aunt under the train they have all his links to shady people continue to be in the headlines.
    McCain/Palin 2008

    November 1, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  5. George

    Never underestimate the evil of the Republican party machine or the gullibility of the peasants with pitchforks who believe whatever Fox News and talk radio tell them to believe.

    How can Sarah Palin continue to pose behind a "Country First" sign after having offered very visible and public support to the seccessionist Alaska Independence Party, whose founder claimed he wasn't even an American? When she can continue to pose like this-and be cheered, rather than laughed off the stage-we know just how dense and dishonest her supporters are.

    Funny how rightwingers go postal over unsubstantiated rumors about the immigration status of some relative of Obama's-but blissfully ignore the well-documented fact that Palin's husband was a card-carrying member of the virulently anti-American AIP. Selective perception is an amazing thing to behold.

    November 1, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. Plumber washington

    Desperation it is!! shame on the dirty republicans that are about to be booted out of the office.

    FYI!
    I still think the indians should have to decide on who's here illegally or legally. peace out!

    November 1, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. JANE

    I CAN'T IMAGINE HOW ANYONE CAN TURN THE FACTS AROUND AND BLAME EITHER BUSH OR McCAIN FOR TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT OBAMA'S AUNT BREAKING THE LAW. IT IS NOT OK FOR ANYONE TO BREAK THE LAW. ONCE AGAIN AS ALWAYS OBAMA DIDN'T KNOW . THAT'S WHAT HE ALWAYS DOES BY CLAIMING HE DIDN'T KNOW. HE DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT AYERS, REZKO, REVERAND WRIGHT, ACCORN AND NOW HIS AUNT WITH SO MANY IN BETWEEN. HE IS EITHER SO STUPID THAT HE KNOWS NOITHING OR THE BIGGEST LIAR EVER, EITHER WAY HE DOESN'T BELONG IN THE WHITE HOUSE
    McCAIN / PALIN 08 THEY CARE

    November 1, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. Republican who voted for Obama/Biden on October 20th

    What about the Black McCain's. I have a picture of them with McCain's brother Joe in the middle. They were slaves that the McCain's owned. Let's introduce them. They are wonderful people. They are also voting for Barack Obama.

    November 1, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. Roy - Chicago

    When news articles are exposes of aunt's 'half-sisters', and other relatives FAR removed from the family tree…..it is obvious that the Republicans are desparate. Is Obama looking for Sarah Palin's extra-maritial lover? Is Obama looking for McCain's Annapolis stripper girlfriend? Is Obama continually mentioning Cindy McCain's drug abuse? It appears only ONE party is digging the dirt as deeply as the Republicans are….. funny how the party that portrays themselves as the more moral, actually feel more entitlement to use horrible campaign tactics. This is the hyprocrisy they have become.

    November 1, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. Anita of georgia

    Obama, has enough to keep up with, Is there anyone, that goes to their relatives and question them about their personal business. I don't and neither do most of you. Keep searching John McCain, all you're going to do is nail your coffin shut. There nothing you can do or say now, that will derail Senate Obama campaign. Just give you enough rope, you'll hang yourself, it's just a matter of time. Your legacy has been destroyed by lies and deceit.

    November 1, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. Dee, B.C. Canada

    How sad, how desparate. Keep it up with all the negative crap. Countries are watching all over the world and are laughing at Americans who actually believe the negativity of McCain/Palin against Obama and laughing at anyone who believes that McCain would make a good president and OMG help us, Palin as VP. Countries have laughed at Bush/Cheney for 8 years, McCain/Palin are the same.

    I am really tired of listening to McCain and Palin on CNN. What is it CNN, do you feel sorry for the old geezer so you are running him over and over and over. All he says is I this, I that, I have been tested, I , I, I. How can Americans be so sucked in? Open your eyes! Canada wants our soldiers to come home too! Obama will bring them home, Go Obama/Biden 08!!!!!

    November 1, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. lol

    who cares who leaked this information. the woman is breaking the law for being in this country. deport her asap! it is disgusting that obama's aunt lives in the projects, and his brother lives in a hut. obama doesn't help out his own relatives. maybe he is generous with "spreading the wealth" of the taxpayers money, but not obama's own money. obama is a sham, media creation!

    November 1, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. Laura

    Pfft! I have nine Aunts and I don't know where half of them live.

    November 1, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  14. Taxpayers Against Paying For Illegal Immigrants

    Tax payers I hope you recognize that you have been paying for Obamas aunt to live in public housing even though she is an illegal immigrant.

    Time to Wake up America
    Go McCain

    November 1, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    "Why is this news?," you ask? That is the question, isn't it... Why and how did a "federal law enforcement official" run to the press a few days before the election with this story. Obama is known as a brilliant man, even among those who don't agree with his political policies – and he would have been a moron not to have taken steps to get his aunt to clean up her act long ago if he'd known about her residence status problems – but someone is trying to make him look complicit right now when his hands are full with much more important campaign work. Very suspicious. More dirty politics in a really sleazy Republican campaign. Even Obama recently said in a nationally broadcast interview that his problem isn't with the Republican part itself, but with the right wing conservatives who have hijacked it. It used to be a party of dignity, and maybe it will be again some day, but not today.

    November 1, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. v.ananthan

    I do really feel sorry for aunt...

    McCain / Palin 08

    November 1, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  17. Orlando

    Some one just lost their job over this little stunt. This type of information is not suppose to be leaked. Joe the Plumber's information was a matter of public record that was found out by reporters that went to get more information on him. Local reporters in his area. These are two completely different things that can't even be compared.

    Leaking of information like this isn't suppose to happen and the person that most likely that did this has been found. Not because it's right but it makes that entire section of Homeland Security look bad.

    This actually is a very stupid thing to do if the McCain camp and the Republicans had a hand in it. To do this and to use it would be a great way to drive the Hispanic vote Obama. He's already getting a huge share of them but this could cause almost all to go his way. This just adds to the stink of desperation that is already surrounding McCain and shows how vile he is.

    Obama was worried about people being complacent. This was a great way of making sure that doesn't happen now. Thanks McCain. You just ignited a fire under Obama supporters that could have been possibly dying out.

    November 1, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. Canadian

    This is to all the McCain followers(not leaders). Just sit and listen to McCain and Palin (I mean listen with an open mind) then listen to Obama, and you still want to vote McCain then God help you all because if McCain and Palin represents America then America is in big trouble or maybe they're what Americans are truly all about. SAD!!!!

    November 1, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    I have to wonder how many of the "critics" here keep in close contact and know all that's going on with elderly relatives like a half-sister of a father they only knew for one month of their lives. It's phony and hypocritical to cast stones and accusations about things that you wouldn't be doing any differently.

    November 1, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  20. Nayya

    Who cares...........this will only enhance the votes for Obama. Every dumb move chalks up another vote for Obama, watch..........When will these folks ever learn that dirt begets a turn in the washing machine. Out with the old.....in with the new. Go Obama/Biden!!

    November 1, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  21. Pee for Poultice

    So is this strong Pro-McCain push from CNN a part of the Republican strategy?

    But then again, CNN is comprised of mostly White men, aren't you...the very idea of an African American man presiding over the government of the United States of America...BUT look what you're offering in return...surely American deserves better than that!

    November 1, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  22. lulu

    This is sick. McSame knows that he is losing so they are pulling everything out. Good luck to America, they will need it!

    November 1, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  23. Dave R. Pawleys Island, SC

    The disdain for McCain. Obama & Biden have ben right all along. The RNC et.al. can no longer can discuss the issues. All they can do is cheat and lie.

    November 1, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. Cindy

    There Obama goes again. throwing his poor aunt under the bus!! He threw his grandmother under the bus a few months ago and last time I checked his poor relation in Kenya is making a $1 a month. For someone who loves to talk about spreading the wealth he sure isn't taking very good care of his family. Does he really think that the average American believes he didn't know she was illegal?? What arrogance!! He sure knew her enough to take her $260 this past year...Soooo Michelle beware honey...the bus may be coming for you too. BTW/ watch the video just hitting the internet this morning on Youtube.Plot to overthrow. EVERYONE is watching it. The tide is turning fast!!!

    November 1, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. cb

    Personally, I don't care about Obama's aunt. What I want to know is why the fact that it could not be "established" that Bush or McCain was behind the leak is "disturbing."

    November 1, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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