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. curtis

    Palin wont release her medical records because she is pregnant again. You heard it here first.

    November 1, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  2. Mild Rubio

    OBAMA NEVER DENIED INHALING FREQUENTLY MARIJUANA WHEN HE WAS A KID, HE WAS NOT EVEN ASHAME OF IT. NOW I WONDER WHY SOME PEOPLE HAVE A PROBLEM UNDERSTANDING HIM CAUSE HE CHANGES POSITIONS ON THINGS AND HE FORGET THINGS ABOUT HIS DIVERSIFIED RELATIVES, WITH REV. WRIGHT, HE SAID, HE NEVER HEARD HIS MENTOR BAD COMMENTS ABOUT AMERICA EVEN IF HE IS HIS PASTOR FOR MANY YEARS. MY CONCLUSION IS, I THINK THESE DRUGS HE HAS TAKEN HAVE DESTROYED HIS BRAIN CELLS LIKE THAT OF ALCOHOL PLUS MAYBE HIS SMOKING HABITS. HE IS SCARY FOR THE WHITE HOUSE. FOR THE PEOPLE WHO CHECKED ON HIS AUNT STATUS, IT IS PERFECTLY OK FOR THEM TO CHECK, HE LIKES TO STAY IN WHITE HOUSE. HE NEEDS TO EARN IT BY SHOWING HE IS ABLE AND NOT DISQUALIFIED, BUT FOR ME, I WILL NEVER SUPPORT HIM COZ I AM THINKING RIGHT. HE CLAIMS TOO BEING A CHRISTIAN BUT AT SAME TIME FOR MURDER OF INNOCENT BABIES. TO ME HE IS A FRAUD. VOTE MCCAIN/PALIN08 DRUGS CAN MAKE U INSANE AND IT DESTROYS YOUR BRAIN CELLS. VOTE MCCAIN, NOT GOING INSANE, VOTE PALIN, NOT "LACKIN"G IN BRAIN CELLS..

    November 1, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  3. FL Democrat supporting Obama

    Glad I voted already for the Obama/Biden ticket. This is very senseless. As far folks commenting about Joe the Plumber, he's already been discredited as a phony. Him being behind on his taxes and child support, etc is public info. The fact that this is priviledged info supposedly protected by the INS and Dept of Homeland security makes criminal that this info was "leaked" by a federal law enforcement official. Smells fishy to me....Nonetheless, if this is the best you have then so be it. The writings on the wall the Rethugs! Theere are far more illegal people in this country and many are quite productive and are contributing to our economies on all levels even with their status being in limbo.....Let it Go! Or else you run the risk of alienating scores of other families who have members here illegally. Think about those votes YOU BIG SORE LOSERS!

    Obama! Yes we can! Yes we will!

    November 1, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. mnyprinc44

    This is RIDICOLOUS...immigration is a personal factor. Who Cares...Can you Please get on with the finally of this election ALREADY.

    I'M TIRED OF THE LIARS IN THE REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN/PARTY...They have stuped so low...that it is DEVILISH...not Christian – it's really RELIGIOUS HATRED.

    November 1, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  5. Leslie

    Where was Senator Kerry and Duval Patrick when this was happening ?

    November 1, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. Ruby S

    Isn't the fact she was denied political asylum in US a bigger plus for Obama? He could have likely given favors, but didn't.

    November 1, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. Wilson

    Do I smell Watergate?

    November 1, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  8. vicky

    I don't think Obama is going to let this story be talked about without finding out what is the truth quietly. Can you picture him sitting back and taking all this gaff. I can't see him ignoring it. I'll just bet he already has a lawyer looking into it. He knows how the Republicans operate and has invested too much of his precious time to let a thing like this ride. There has to be more to this story than meets the eye just as that hoax they tried to pull off with Todd.

    November 1, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  9. Bridg

    HO HUM! THIS STORY IS SO DESPERATE AND PATHETIC!

    November 1, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  10. Toby

    Since she's trying to escape death at the hands of political hit squads, I'd say the republican attempt to make an issue of it just shows how christian they really are.

    November 1, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  11. Lisa, MD

    THIS IS CRAZY WHY ALL THE SUDDEN OBAMA'S AUNT LIVING IN THE US (BOSTON MA) AND MAYBE AND ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT A PROBLEM. I BELIEVE OBAMA REALLY DIDN'T KNOW AND MAYBE SHE DIDN'T WANT ANYONE TO KNOW. PLEASE QUIT JUDGING HIM BECAUSE OF HIS RACE, HIS AFFLIATIONS WITH PEOPLE AND NOW HIS FAMILY. DOES THAT REALLY MATTER NOW ESPECIALLY WITH ECONOMIC CRISIS WE ARE IN. SOME OF THE COMMENTS ON THIS BLOG SAYING HOW COME HE DIDN'T KNOW. TELL ME SOMETHING DO YOU KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT YOUR FAMILY? HELL NO AND BELIEVE ME YOU PROBABLY DON'T WANT TO KNOW. I'M SORRY I'M JUST SO SICK OF PEOPLE CLAIM TO BE THIS AND THAT AND TALK A BUNCH OF BS!!!!!!!. IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH OBAMA FINDING OUT ABOUT HIS AUNT THEN YOU ARE NO BETTER THAN MCCAIN, PALIN AND BUSH THE WRECKIN CREW. IF YOU DON'T HAVE ANYTHING NICE OR POSITIVE TO SAY ABOUT OBAMA THEN PLEASE DO US ALL A FAVOR KEEP YOUR COMMENTS TO YOUR SELF. I USE TO LIKE PARTICIPATING ON CNN BLOG BUT AFTER READING SOME OF THE COMMENTS I JUST WON'T DO IT ANYMORE JUST BECAUSE SOME PEOPLE ON HERE HAVE SO MUCH HATRED IN THERE HEART AND IT'S IS SO SAD. SORRY BUT THAT'S JUST HOW FEEL :-(

    November 1, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  12. Brian

    What did Obama know and when did he know it? The Attorney General needs to appoint a Special Prosecutor for possible impeachment charges against Obama for conspiracy to violate immigration laws and for being an accessory after the fact. IMPEACH OBAMA NOW! (That'll keep the fun of the campaign going for another year)

    November 1, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  13. Tim

    And I demand to know why she is in the country and what Obama would do about it. Now go ask him the question.

    November 1, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  14. Jerry

    This is why we have to worry about identiy theft. People who have access to our information just past it out like we are bread to others who can eat it and not say a word. This is pathetic.

    I hope Obama win by a huge margin just to show them that GOD DON
    'T LIKE UGLY.

    November 1, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  15. Andrew From The Bronx

    Maybe We Sould Check Obama'a Birth Certificate. He Wasn't Born In This Counrty.

    November 1, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  16. Tim

    John the American is an American idiot. It's doesn't matter if Palin's daughter has a child out of wedlock, that is not against the law. Obama's Aunt being in the country is against the law.

    We know democrat's don't like to follow the laws, just look at what happened during the 2000 election when they tried to change the laws after the fact.

    November 1, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  17. osas

    THE NATIVE INDIANS WHERE THE FIRST PEOPLE IN THIS LAND AND OUR GREAT FOR FATHERS MIGRATED HERE ILLEGALLY FROM EUROPE, AND EVEN TAKE OVER THE LAND, SO WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL FOR A WOMAN ABIDING TO THE LAW AND CONTRIBUTING POSITIVELY TO THE SURVIVING AMERICA.

    November 1, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  18. Treads from Austin, TX

    Republican or Democrat...I have an Aunt that I don't keep tract of...what's the big whoop?

    November 1, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  19. Silvestre

    As a Hispanic male, I can tell you from speaking to many undecided Hispanic friends and relatives living in California, Arizona and Texas (for whom immigration reform is a top priority) that the sudden emergence of this "news story" has swayed them to Obama's column.

    Thanks John McCain!

    November 1, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  20. osas

    VOTE OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT !!!!

    November 1, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  21. Walmart Mom from Canada

    ....and is Sen Obama supposed to be responsible in some way??
    My God people, pull your head up.
    What a smoke screen!

    November 1, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  22. American Joe

    Obama is a liar. Period. He has lied from day one. America is losing it's sense of direction. Most all people who vote for obama is doing so just because of race and don't even know the issues or what he stands for. They are deaf, dumb & blind. With an emphasis on "dumb". All of you who get my money because I work for it and support you as it is, spend it wisely , please. That's of course if obama gets elected. God I hope and pray he don't, because those who vote for him now will be happy in 3 days and very regretful in 300 days.

    November 1, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  23. Larry

    A sad day for any Republican when their party is willing to throw a fifty year old woman under a bus in an effort to win an election

    But I guess they have killed so many people all over the world ... one more won't matter

    A sad day for the American people indeed

    November 1, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  24. Lilly

    One more time: Obama 08, yes we scam!

    November 1, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  25. Paul H

    shug

    Joe the "Plumber" appeared on stage to campaign for McCain and was put front and center by the campaign as representing the average guy. That makes him a figure in the campaign and subject to being checked out. So we find out he is in fact not a licensed plumber, that he has a history of spousal abuse and non-payment of taxes and that he admittedly knows "enough about foreign policy to be dangerous" but still thinks he's qualified to say that Israel will be destroyed if Obama is elected. Sad, but the sign of a desperate campaign.

    On the other hand, Obama's half aunt on his father's side of the family who he hasn't had much to do with is living quietly–if illegally–in the USA and has nothing to do with the campaign is apparently outed by a Federal public servant for political purposes. There's a way to deal with overstays, that isn't it.

    Sorry, checking out Joe the "Plumber" is fair enough; going after non-campaigning distant relatives is desperate. We've heard nothing from McCain about how he's going to fix America's problems but more tax cuts for the rich and carrying on Bush's dumb war which has cost nearly 4500 coalition troops their lives and the taxpayer 10 BILLION a month. Compared to that I don't care if Obama has three half-aunts in Boston.

    November 1, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
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