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. Dr. Lecter, Baltimore MD

    After the whole Valerie Plame fiasco, is anyone really surprised at this?

    November 1, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  2. The Krazed Kanadian

    Like President Obama said, it' about to get nasty these next couple days!

    November 1, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  3. Lynne

    It's laughable that Conyers is more concerned with the idea that someone might have leaked the fact that Obama's aunt is an illegal alien than he is with the fact that 1. she is an illegal alien, residing in the United States illegally, 2. she is living in public housing in Boston, once again against the law, 3. she has broken campaign finance laws by contributing to her nephew's campaign, 4. that she was ordered to leave the country four years ago by an immigration judge and didn't leave and 5. that Obama and his campaign knew that she was in Boston.

    Once again, teflon O will get away with something unsavory as the press whistles its way past the graveyard. I dread the next four years.

    November 1, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  4. Truth to the People

    Its ok to investigate

    investigate Bush, Cheney for high crimes

    investigate all these 30 year Republicans that have been robbing us with one hand and pointing to accuse decent Americans of "not being "real" Americans" with the other.

    Republicans have pilfered our nation, with a brilliant clean white smile and convinced us that its or own best interests.....Republicans turned our government into a tool for capitalists, the reason the Republicans want to destroy organized labor is because slavery is illegal.

    May God grant the courage to the decent men and women of the Justice Dept to bring these people to trial.

    Our national character hangs in the balance of our will to vigilantly pursue justice......and condemn criminals.....all the way to the top

    Investigate, indict, bring to trial.

    The truth shall set you free........still

    November 1, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  5. Reality

    More attempts at censorship from the Obamabots. Disgusting. This is America.

    November 1, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  6. The Tax Payer Revolution begins Nov 4 (Producers vs. Moochers and Looters)

    Yes, let us get the bottom of who leaked the immigration status of Obama aunt, but that major newspaper (NYT) that leaked national security secrets, that's not important. Nothing to see here... move along... these aren't the droids you've been looking for...

    November 1, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  7. B. Washington

    I am really tired of this election. I feel that people who would do any to win an election does not deserve to be in office. McCain and Palin have said and done everything about Obama. The Republican party is such narrow minded and the people in it for most part are hateful and prejudice. I do not know how they can call themself Christians.

    November 1, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  8. Olivia

    Or maybe someone from the obama campaign?
    For whatever obscure's a toss up.
    Besides.....I'm sure Michael Chertoff will add this to his list of things to look into pertaining to this presidential race, especially if it affects security.

    November 1, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  9. Tena

    I, too, was stunned as well as questioned how Senator Obama's aunt's unlawful U.S. residency status was obtained by the media. As a federal government employee whose work entails close and direct Homeland Security and Immigration Services' contact for status verification of aliens' lawful/unlawful U.S. presence, I know the leak had to involve governmental insider release of secured information that is prohibted by law! Totally unacceptable! Investigation for identifying person(s) is appropriate and once discovered, disciplinary actions should be exercised to the fullest!

    November 1, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  10. finally

    someone need to be fired for this ,how would feel if somebody's situation you know is parade like that on national tv because some relative is running for president? Please stop the mud ,McCain supporter think they are helping him....not that if he want to loose FL,Co,Nevada New mexico and make 20% in California

    November 1, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  11. Christine

    Who leaked Joe McCain's 911 call a couple of weeks ago? Did Conyers demand an investigation? Was it political? Of course no one in the media cares. Conyers is a well-known lunatic fringe liberal hack.

    November 1, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  12. shahid

    Why not investigate the immigration violation and Obama's knowledge of his aunt and not doing anything about it instead of investigating the leak? Media bias again?

    November 1, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  13. Terrence

    John Conyers should be more concerned with the disgrace his wife is as a Detroit city councilwoman than the source of this leak.

    November 1, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  14. Teena in Denver

    Remember what Barack Obama said–Power does not concede easily. After 8 years of under-handed governing this report by a law-official is NOT Suprising!

    "Anything to win" is the Republican motto.

    November 1, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  15. i.s

    what does Obama's aunt's immigration status have to do with the election and the issues? I think Conyers has a valid point they should investigate the source of this report. The Republicans have noooo shame, sooo disgusting, they keep avoiding the issues, simply because they know they have nothing to offer the American people.

    November 1, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  16. Obamma Camp Going Nazi.

    It's starting already-first Obama threw reporters off the plane whose newspapers supported McCain-now they are trying to suppress info on Obama's aunt who is an illegal immigrant–then Obama insisted that his replacement in the Senate be black-

    If you are white, you best move to Canada.

    November 1, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  17. Karen

    Disgusting. The federal law enforcement official should be fired if the identity is ever discovered. This would appear to be another attempt to cast doubt on Sen. Obama. I am sick of the tactics of the past eight years. Wake up America and make the "Change We Need"!

    November 1, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  18. annie - never again a dem.

    Possibility that obama is an illegal!

    November 1, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  19. common sense

    Where are Palin's medical records? She said she would release them, but she has not. Palin Lie #1,827.

    November 1, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  20. Steve Bender

    Here is another example of hypocrisy from the republican base, whoever released this information(coward) is trying to say that the Obama camp is committing an illegal act, when they committed an illegal act to release this garbage. Sara Palin is allowed to spew the Anti-American vile when she herself commended the AIP in 2006 for doing a great job to be removed from the United States. I myself had my father the abandon me when I was a child, there are relatives I have that I do not know anything about. Even the ones I have only met once. SAD.........

    November 1, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  21. Christian Democrat in Florida

    The Repubs will stop at nothing...
    In Broward County, Florida: Robo calls circulating from a person pretending to be Brenda Snipes (Supervisor of Elections) telling people they can vote Tuesday by phone. I hope no one will actually believe the caller...

    November 1, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  22. jon,philadelphia

    These people don't know how to not leak. I am still waiting for someone to go to jail for treason for the Valerie Plame affair.

    November 1, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  23. Peter (CA)

    Ignore it.

    This is Republican desperation politics. If you give it attention, it grows more than it should.

    November 1, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  24. Christine

    Also, why doesn't it disturb Conyers that Obama's aunt is living here illegally period? And that Obama claims to not have known. How is that even possible? Obama should spread his wealth around to his own family before lecturing the rest of us. And his illegal immigrant aunt shouldn't be living off taxpayer's dollars. This is completely ridiculous.

    November 1, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  25. robtr

    we sure wouldn't want the American people finding out about lawbreakers in our own country now would we Mr. Conyers? The Obama thuggery continues on.

    November 1, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
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