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. Brenda in Evansville, Indiana

    If Valerie Plame taught us nothing else, it's that this par for the course from the Bush-Cheney administration.

    Does anybody care that the Dept. of Homeland Security has leaks?

    November 1, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  2. Diana Ewing NJ

    Don't bother spending money on this..... it was Bush/Chaney/McCain/Rove Bush Chaney /McCain/ Rove.... sorry for repeating myself.....

    November 1, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  3. Arielle Yanaba

    This must be the republican party's idea of an "October Surprise". To bad they just don't get the fact this is not the same electorate of 2000 or even 2004! Seriously, leaking info about his Aunt? Are you kidding me?

    November 1, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  4. Mike

    "Leak"??? A "leak" would imply that the shared information was not to be released publicly, or was confidential. Freudian, perhaps, Mr. Conyers?

    November 1, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. victor, NC

    Barack Obama: 'It's gonna get nasty' in final days before election. "War Hero", "Not Country First", "No Honor" McCain & Co would rather win an election than helps his volk.

    November 1, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  6. ALEXANDER SMITH SR

    please let her live here and in peace.she is a woman and have going through two much know. please leave her in peace in Jesus name. God be with her always.

    November 1, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. g terry

    I HOPE SHE CONTINUE THE EFFORT TO BECOME A CITIZEN OF THIS WONDERFUL COUNTRY AS MANY BEFORE HER HAS, AND MY GOD BLESS HER EFFORT.

    November 1, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  8. Sue, Vienna, VA

    This country has become mired in the worst political vitriol I have encountered in my 41 years of voting. From false accusations, innuendos, and outright lies, we have watched the 2008 campaign sink lower and lower. I began the campaign season thinking I would vote for John McCain, since I am a registered Republican, I have voted Rep. the majority of the time, and I thought Senator MCain was an honorable man. I no longer feel that way. My husband and I cast our votes for Obama-Biden last Tuesday and couldn't be more proud. The differences between Obama and McCain were MUCH too stark to ignore – Obama being an intelligent, introspective, and resolute man ready to lead this nation back to the respected country it used to be, and McCain being an angry, cantankerous, divisive old man.

    November 1, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  9. SICKandTIRED!

    Whether this is politically motivated or not, the bottom line is if she is here illegally, then it is wrong. There are 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S.A. So, I hope nobody stoops so low to tie Obama or take it against him.

    November 1, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  10. Jdm

    Good luck! They outed a CIA OP and got away with it. Do you really think your going to find anything about a illegal immigrat outed 3 days before an election. Yeah right! The kicthen sink approach in full swing!

    November 1, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  11. H.Nelson An American living In Maastricht Holland

    Wow!!!!! The the Mcpalin and G.W.Bush gang will do anything to get eclected...How low can you go....Sad day for American politics and this election..Sad,sad,sad.......

    November 1, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  12. Hillary

    She's Obama's half- aunt. The half sister of an estranged father. If you don't know whether or not she's really an illegal immigrant, because you can't verify this story, why run it?

    November 1, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. Helki

    Who cares about his aunt this is another ploy of the republicans trying to find something on Obama because they are losing. At this point in the election no one cares whoever is going to vote for Obama has already voted for him or still are going to vote for him on November 4th. The undecided voters are not going to make a difference. I already voted for OBAMA

    November 1, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  14. Mr. Paul

    It is more than a shame. This is reflective of the kinds of content of character with the Republican Party and John McCain. As if they have not done enough harm to America by misleading us to go to war for political gains, they have resorted to this lowest road to the highest office ever in the world. Soon they will preach to us about values, honor and integrity when they are valueless and dishonorable. We cannot keep on listening to these falsehoods and evil folks. It further poisons our society and it is not who we should be. John McCain has totally lost respect with the American people and he will not realize it until after this election. There is no grace in these folks. The amount of names they have called Obama is disgraceful and yet the are not succeeding in tripping him. History has a mind of its own. If history has written its notes with Obama as the president noone can stop it.

    November 1, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  15. Soccer mom from Canada

    Very irresponsible for the safety of that woman.

    November 1, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  16. Scoti

    Since there wasn't an October Surprise against Obama, someone high up came up with one. It shouldn't take long to figure out who leaked the story. If President Bush is smart, he will cooperate and so will Homeland Security.

    November 1, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  17. No Hillary = No Obama

    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.

    November 1, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  18. Hopeful Democrat

    Lou Dobbs, take it away!

    November 1, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  19. No McCain

    Who cares that we may or may not have one more illegal immigrant in USA.... Columbus did not have a visa for America either. None of our grandfathers/mothers had a visa as they immigrated to America (originally Native-Indian Land). PLZ PLZ PLZ stop this non-sense.

    November 1, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  20. Paul R

    Note too that the story first got leaked to the Times of London, a Murdoch paper with a history of taking planted stories from Republicans for siphoning back into the US media.

    November 1, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  21. North Dallas Thirty

    Sort of like how Conyers supported and endorsed Ohio state officials abusing their power to look up Joe the Plumber's tax records and child suppport status.

    November 1, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. Glen Combe

    3 days to go in one of the most heated, negtative elections in the history of the United States and this begs the question of being politically motivated? How ignorant does CNN or the GOP percieve the American people to be? I was on the fence on who to vote for. But after seeing the picture of this 56 year old woman who lives in public housing and donates whopping 260 to Obama. It guarantees that I will vote for anyone but McCain\Palin. So I guess that agreement both parties had to not attack each others wives does not apply to extended family? Let alone breaking the law and disclosing private information? I hope who ever did break the law \ (multiple laws) is punished to the full extent of the law. What is, right is right. And what is wrong is wrong. There is no grey area in this matter. The law was broke and this person should be removed and punished. Its a sad day in America when a guy like "Joe" the plumber can be celebrity, when really a fraud and an old lady living in public housing can be used to bring a canidate down. What ever it takes to win right? There is no honor in American Politics this year.

    November 1, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. Daryl in Seattle

    I'm absolutely convinced that the highest ranking Republicans are pure evil. They will do anything and say anything to win. This is such a dirty attack and then to leak it to the press. Again, an attempt to blame Obama for any and everyone he's ever come into contact with for their decisions. What was he supposed to do? Escort her out of the country himself? That isn't Obama's job. That's whoever didn't follow up and make sure she left's responsibility.

    November 1, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  24. Ronnie

    Was this the "October/November" surprise? This is sad indeed. When the ICE can't confirm Obama's aunt's status, this is just speculation. While I do hope it's not true, I am genuinely disturbed by the increasingly nasty turn of events. I cannot wait for November 5th to be here!

    Obama/Biden 08/12

    November 1, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  25. Kathy from MD

    dirty tricks from the republicans – anyway what does this have to do with how great a president Obama will be?

    November 1, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17