November 1st, 2008
01:09 PM ET
10 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. Pat - San Antonio

    Some more food for thought – Bush inherited the largest surplus in history as Alexandria quotes above – while Clinton turned an ignorant blind eye to a terrorist cell that took 6-7 years to execute it. Then Bush takes office and VOILA – 911. Millions of dollars was spent on creating Department of Homeland Security to keep our country safe – have we had any terrorist attacks on U.S. installations anywhere in the world since then? – I DON'T THINK SO. The man had an agenda, but was obviously never able to fulfill most of it because of the results of the Clinton Administration. Among the achievements on Clinton’s list were none other than “Modernizing for the New Economy through Technology and Consensus Deregulation.”, a Clinton White House document that credited part of the administration’s success to that now dreaded d-word, deregulation. Never mind the fact that our Democratic congress has a lower popularity that George W. Bush. Oh what a sad country we live in. I pray that we do not elect Obama – the Book of Revelation explains it all – he is the anti-Christ.

    November 1, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  2. Mike, Land O Lakes, FL

    Why is anyone surprised that the Bush admininstration decided to leak this story in an attempt to help McCain???

    November 1, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. Diane in Wis

    No Hillary = No Obama November 1st, 2008 3:16 pm ET

    THE WOMAN IS HERE ILLEGALLY. This isn't a leak. We, the taxpayers have a right to know whose living off our monies. Don't tell me Obama didn't know.

    No Hillary=No Obama,
    It is to a leak anything that is federal stays in the government... I see your a McCain voter, The tax money that McCain wants? What we need to do now instead of talking illigal or legal is start fixing our economy and reunite our country again, This country is full of immigrants being from all over the world and we should welcome our friends with open arms as Christians!! we are all Gods children!

    November 1, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. ralph Mastrangelo

    I was always brought up believig that America was a nation governed by laws, Yet ever this woman has broken the imigration laws by being here illegally, She has broken the by giving money to a politial compaign as an illegal alien. I would't be surprised that she has probably registered to vote in the election as well. When you do not follow the rule of law then the logical consequence is anarchy. I cannot believe that Senator Conyers has the chops to defend this woman by wanting an investigation into why we found out she was illegal. He should spend his time finding out how she got around the system that is meant to protect this country and not grandstand about
    launching an investigation. He is supposedly here to represent the American Citizen not the illegal alien. He should be impeached and thrown out of the Congress.

    November 1, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. Michael F

    Obama's HALF-aunt may be living in this country after being denied asylum. That is not a CRIME. It is an administrative violation. The details of a person's immigration status are private by law and disclosing them is a CRIME.

    If the story is true, them the law should be followed in her case as in any other immigration case. The local housing officials should determine how she was able to live in public housing and get that loophole closed.

    However, the real crime here is the leaking of private information to help a campaign. It is shameful and the perpetrator should go to jail. The government has a lot of information about all of us and we are protected by privacy laws. What if it was your private data being used to attack a political enemy?

    November 1, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  6. LL

    The 4 1/2 hours of debates showed America that McCain is a lightweight. Relies on strut and bluster to cover his deficiencies. Doesn't know much about foreign affairs, and can't handle a "town hall" crowd.

    This woman is the Republicans' last hope.

    November 1, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. 44th President

    To all you haters out there, Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States of America, so get used to it.

    November 1, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  8. Julie from LA

    Well, she didn't talk to him about her immigration problem and he didn't help her with it.


    Conyers point, on the other hand, is VERY relevant.

    HAS the Bush administration leaked private government records in order to damage a political opponent....AGAIN?

    I hope the media doesn't let THAT part of it rest. I'm tired of the Bush administration's abuse of power and their lies.

    November 1, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  9. GT

    funny how the mccain/palin ticket is finding all these "issues". can they just deal with really issue plaguing the usa and find the right solutions? or will they continue to find everything under the rock to distract the voting people. i can't vote; i'm a proud canadian but wish you american look at the facts and not all these distraction. good luck. i hope you make the right choice....

    November 1, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  10. facts are facts

    Well the GOP were guilty of treason in the Valarie Plame incident so what is another minor leak of something that absolutely no importance. The main thing is to get McCain elected so the rich can keep stealing and making more money at the expense of the American peasants.

    November 1, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. McShame Fatigue

    Looks like someone in the current administration leaked the information, with the goal of throwing a last-minute wrench into the people's campaign. And someone else confirmed it, with similar motives.

    November 1, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. Jay Anderson

    Obama's aunt?? Don't let them distract you. I'm still waiting to see Holier Than Thou Palin's Medical records (did she get an abortion or what??? and why can't we see the medical records of someone who wants to be president??) Obama's aunt, my foot... and who "leaked" this from the Bush administration..and is it even true? and how long have they held this "information" back to use at the last minute??

    And again Where are Palin's medical records and WHAT are the Republican's hiding???

    November 1, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. Larry

    The word LEAK implies that the Democrats knew about her ,and have been COVERING IT UP.

    Why is it WE HAVE TO KEEP IGNORING EVERYTHING??LAWS DON'T SEEM TO MATTER when it comes to Obama–This is what Democrats want for their PRESIDENT???Constant LIES and COVER UPS !!

    VOTE McCain and let's fix the country

    November 1, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. Berkeleyan

    Obama owes nothing to his father's side, aunts, uncles, half brothers or sisters etc., who never supported him or saw him when he was growing up. Who cares about his aunt! If you think that a relative's action can affect you as an individual, you are truly a communist! It's so petty that the McCain campain cannot come up with any good ideas to get the country out of the worst crisis ever since the Great Depression. All they could do is to smear Obama, calling him with the worst and untruthful names....Pathetic.

    November 1, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  15. sueb

    Where were you when Joe the plumber was being investigated????? Not only that–he was a legal US citizen. You people wear blinders.

    November 1, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  16. Know your History

    Hey I want to know why I know more about Joe the Plumber that I do Barack Obama? Joes been investigated several times for asking nothing more than a hypothetical question. Obama is running for president and has years of missing time he does not account for.

    November 1, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  17. Jim Rousch

    If I hear ONE MORE MORON say that there's no difference between the two parties EVER AGAIN, I'll kick 'em...can't say where-not on this board, anyway.

    November 1, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  18. Scott MA.

    The disturbing part of this is that she is donating money to a campaign when she is not suppose to have a pot to piss in. She should be booted out of the D street projects and sent back to Africa.

    November 1, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  19. Time to move on

    Please people go out and vote the the peoples choice.

    November 1, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  20. virginia nielsen

    Senator Obama is a very polite man, as he didn't talk about Sarah'Palin's affiliations with the Alaskan Independent Party !!! GO OBAMA !!!

    November 1, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  21. Mcfatigue


    November 1, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  22. Ruby S

    Good and Gracious Lord – remind us once again about what this nation is all about. Remind us what we lost these past eight years and remind us once again what it is we are searching for. Obama's Aunt?

    November 1, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  23. rm

    I really hope that no one does anything to the lady. If you can't win a campaign on your platform, sure throw an old helpless lady under the bus. Shame.

    November 1, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  24. democrats /PA


    November 1, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  25. Red Buoy Going Blue

    Why is this a question?
    It was strange for President Bush to go over to the RNC head office in D.C. the other day. And there has been much speculation as to why McCain and his staff seemed so upbeat for the past few days.
    Now we see the RNNC stepping in with huge ad buys and the release of this private information about Barack's father's [who was only around till he was two] half sister whom Barack has seen in the U.S.

    How responsible are you or anyone for what one of their parent's siblings does?
    And don't you think the info was an INS file and to which Bush has ready access?

    November 1, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
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