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. Mike in Texas

    Wouldn't surprise me if Bush or McCain was behind this. I am sure they knew along time ago but wanted to put it out right before the election. Shouldn't be a big deal anyways except for neo-cons like Rush and Sean.

    November 1, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  2. BM

    This is one of the kinds of sneaky,stealing that Bush did to win his presidency.He should not want another term with the kind of mess he has put this country in. McCain will be worse.

    November 1, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. A moderate independent in Illinois

    Of course somebody in the Bush administration is involved! I guess the nasty Republicans will soon be calling this Aunti-Gate.
    What did Obama know and when did he know it. This is just more gutter-level politics from the "honorable" John McCain. HAH!
    John McCain and Sarah Palin should absolutely be ashamed of themselves. I hope the voters across America repudiate this type of politics once and for all.

    November 1, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. Tony

    It is a last, deseprate by McCain and the republicans.


    November 1, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. McHoover Would Destroy What's Left of America

    This is a perfect example of why the Republicans need more than their hands slapped this election.

    The hypocrisy is outrageous. I recall Mr McHypocrite stating earlier that families were off limits.

    Our country has become a dictatorship under Bush/Cheney/Rove/McCain/Palin.

    November 1, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  6. The Manchurian candidate

    Faux News perhaps? Desperate, whoever's fault it was

    November 1, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  7. LaVelle from Atlanta,GA

    hmmmm CNN knows that it was the republicans who leaked this out, but who cares about his aunt, wait a second, arent there millions of illegal immigrants that are here in this country that we know for a FACT are illegal, and we havent talked on them this whole campaign season and now CNN wants to talk about Barack's aunt who we do not even know all about the facts in her case. CNN you are suppose to report the truth, not playing a guess game. More Fear Tactics. And people who are not going to read into this and just read the headlines are going to think something bad of this, when they shouldnt! Shame on you CNN...This is what I have been saying all along, including reporters like Campbell Brown who will do anything to criticize Barack and never Mccain. I have said she as well as many need to take her shirt off to reveal a big Superman "R" underneath. I give her as well as CNN, "A Pat on the Back for the republicans."

    November 1, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. Matt, Manchester, CT

    Sure thing, Congressman Conyers – let's spend our money wisely in that manner. I'm certain there's nothing else in the country that you folks in Congress should be analyzing.

    November 1, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  9. Independent white female patriotic voter

    Who cares???? I don't! just give me someone who will fix the economy, fix healthcare and fix education...someone who will once and for all put the people of America before their hunger for power and their own political gain. Mccain has been lying through his teeth and I am sick of Joe the plumber"who by the way would get a beter tax break under Obama" and I am sick of air head, Palin, and tired of all the finger pointing. They have spent the last few weeks throwing all kinds of bull at Obama trying to see what sticks. I think Obama has been a great campaigner, a great politician who has respect for others and a very tough and disciplined way of doing business. Just what we need today in this economy. I have lost so much respect for Mccain, I never disliked him, but now I do.

    November 1, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  10. JOL

    I certainly hope that no one ever expects me to be held accountable for all of my relatives actions.

    November 1, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  11. Toole

    Republican fingerprints all over this one.

    November 1, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  12. Steve in WY

    Typical Republican law breaking.

    November 1, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  13. Paul - Seattle

    Once again the American people are supposed to be distracted from the issues. We won't be fooled this time. The consequences are too serious. We have real problems that need real solutions. Divisiveness is not a just adds to the problem.

    Obama/Biden '08
    Hope...Solutions...Our Future!

    November 1, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  14. BM

    While you were at it, Bush you should have revealed to CNN your arrest record and how you avoided the military.

    November 1, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  15. barbara miller

    Thank you Mr. Chertoff for taking right and just action. It must have taken a lot of digging by someone out there to find this information about a woman who is a half-sister to Obama's Father. And then, it took a incredible lack of character and judgment to divulge this private information to the 'diggers'.

    November 1, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  16. Kim

    I think we all know where this came from in the 11th hour of the election race. The campaign who's running scared and now will do anything, at any cost to win. I guess they couldn't find Bin Laden to provide an October surprise...


    November 1, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  17. Linda32

    I would like to know that also.

    November 1, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  18. Mike H.

    The real focus of any investligation should be whether Obama was in touch with his aunt and knew of her illegal status and the deportation order against her. The authorities should also look into the violations of law in the form of Obama's aunt living in public housing and donating to his campaign.

    November 1, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. Robert

    Who cares about any of this? The Boston Housing supposedly checked her status and didnt find anything wrong. Shes been here for at least 4 years, and she is one of 10million. The campaign returned her money, Obama even said she should follow the law and that he didnt know about it, none of us know everyone in our family and what they are doing and if its such a big deal, deport her. This type of "news" coming out so close to the just shows you how low the republicans are. Who cares?! Stop wasting our time with stupid things like this. Stories like this dont fix the economy, they dont get us health care. They dont do anything to unite us. CNN and others, stop wasting our time with this nonsense!

    November 1, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  20. Billy

    Standard low road, republican tactis.

    Power never concedes.

    November 1, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  21. Obama is for UNITING of the PEOPLE

    So Obama has a relative who WANTS to be an American........And McCain Picked a VP and her first dude WHOM want to DIVIDE Alaska FROM the UNITED STATES........CNN. YOu would report this, WHat happen toe the leader ofAIP who stated if he had an AMERICAN flag he would stump all over it? Why haven't you listed Alaskan Independence Party that Todd and Palin were obsess with?: Keep up the good work," Sarah Palin told members of the Alaskan Independence Party in a videotaped speech to their convention six months ago in Fairbanks. She wished the party luck on what she called its "inspiring convention." The Alaskan Independence Party, founded in 1978, initially promoted "the Alaskan independence movement." But now, according to its website, "its primary goal is merely a vote on secession." The Alaskan Independence Party has HATE US for YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The leader of the Alaskan Independence Party said HE would NEVER hang an American FLAG on a pole in ALaska...WHERE IS HIS INTERVEIW????????????????

    November 1, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  22. eddy


    November 1, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  23. dave

    it is really sad for our country!
    weather it is republican or dems.
    that our politics has gone to the lowest low
    ever seen before , an having federal officials
    leak out information, with know regaurd
    of what our country stands for.
    its a sad sad day for the people that have to live with this
    so call government

    i thought there were protections for everyone in america
    even immigration status, if that not the case why dont
    we leak out eveyone businees, social sec. numbers, bank acounts
    make our voting records public, .. etc.. etc.

    we preach PROUD TO BE AMERICAN, as long as it fits
    for what you want out of it , an dont care about your fellow man

    next president fix this please
    if you can take your head out of our countrys butts long enough

    November 1, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  24. tishoogle

    Dirty pool is going on! An investigation should be conducted! McCain
    will do whatever it takes to win this election!

    Obama will win! Honest Man!!!!

    November 1, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  25. Susan MO

    Now he says he knew nothing about this. We find that very hard to believe.

    November 1, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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