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. Marie

    Where is the line drawn and legal action taken against this administration? Cheney should have been before an investigative committee by now...not to mention Bush's lies in gettings us into Iraq. There is no doubt in my mind that the McCain camp has enough clout to get this information and "accidently" leak it to the media. McCain/Palin are losing desperately and will go deeper in the mud if necessary. I should hope on Nov. 5th, McCain slinks back to Arizona and goes into hiding and send Palin packing to Alaska, to deal with all the problems she has made there.

    November 1, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  2. Lucy

    I'd start with Karl Rove, maybe Dick Cheney. But we know they will never answer a subpoena, just like McMoosie and troopergate. She figured she already had "Executive Priveledge". SURPRISE!

    November 1, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  3. oh please !!!

    they are just trying to find thing on Obama that would penalize him . this is ridiculous ... maybe he didn't even have contact with her ...he hasn't seen is father for years ....what tell you he was in contact with her ? if so we would have found out months ago . America please do the right thing. your decision on Tuesday will impact the world . think twice ...if your unsure ...just look at the mess your in!!! that should shine your light .

    November 1, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |

    I dont think that McCain would go that low... although with this election I am begining to wonder..... but this close to election day???? c-mon there is with out a doubt someone from either the Bush administration, or McCain's goon squad doing this. But that is ok, Obama has taken every hit the mccain campaign has thrown his way and Obama still stands tall smiling.

    OBAMA / BIDEN 2008 AND 2012

    November 1, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. Bre Kiessling

    Are you kidding me...anything to win. Kind of convenient that this comes out 4 days till voting. Well my vote is in stone Obama/Biden all the way. Mccain needs some new tactics. Maybe talking about what he is going to do fo our country and how we are going to fix our big problem the economy and job loses. Hey theres an idea!!! I will be glad when this is all over. I am so tired of the Mccain/Palin attacks enough it enough shut it Mccain!!!

    November 1, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  6. A Citizen

    This is disgusting, point blanc! I'm an independant but I'm starting to see what the republicans are capable of. I will still wait until the very last day until I make my decision.

    November 1, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  7. Judith

    Why is this "news?" Was Obama notified that she was her illegally? Should he have been? Is he her keeper? I don't think so. Obama hasn't seen her in over a year according to reports. Who "leaked" this ... most likely, not someone from the Obama camp–they were probably blindsided. Most likely, someone affiliated with Bush, Rove or McCain. Is this supposed to be the October Surprise a la a Willie Horton "aha."

    I've got a wild and jerky brother who I'm sure is involved in all kinds of conspiracy issues. I'm not responsible for anything that he does illegally, and I bet there are plenty. End of story.

    The question is why? And why just a few days before the final vote? Obama has reported today that if she is here illegally, then she needs to be handled via the proper channels and immigration authories. Show her the plane or start the process for a green card. They've ID that a few hundred dollars was donated to the campaign and have started the process to return the money, per campaign laws. End of story.

    November 1, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  8. MLH

    Senator Obama is no more responsible for his aunt than Senator McCain is for a brother that called 911 because he was in a snit over having to wait in a traffic jam. This is yet another sordid, nasty and small minded way to attempt to deny the reality that most of us out here prefer Senator Obama to Senator McCain when it comes to Commander in Chief.

    November 1, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  9. JB

    oooh. is this the scary "October Surprise"????

    surprise! doesn't matter, GOP!

    (1) Why would he push into the legal status of extended family (God knows I'm not pressing into all the arrests, rehabs, or family problems of all my extended relatives!); (2) yeah–bringing up his Aunt, who doesn't want to go back to a country riddled with violence and murder and lives the lavish lifestyle that public housing in Boston affords is REALLY going to short up Arizona and New Mexico for you. The liberals and moderates are already voting for Obama; this shores up the conservative vote, which McCain (or Palin, really) already has. Just what demographic is this supposed to push into McCain's column at this point?

    November 1, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. shug

    Hum, lawmakers want to know who leaked info on Obama's aunt , but no inquiry on who leaked info on Joe Wurzulbacher, the plumber, and all his personal information. All that personal info leaked to the Obama campaign and worse yet made public. Conyers needs to be fair and seek answers for both sides and then maybe I would take his complaints seriously and not partisan! Definetly a one sided ploy again. How do we actually know anything about anyone anymore. Things have gotten so ridiculous that I wouldn't doubt that the Democrats released the info themselves to blame McCain and his campaign. The public can't even get the LA Times to release a tape showing Senator Obama at a dinner engagement with another one of his extreme "friends". Funny, when his aunt was first interviewed by a reporter she told them she could only talk to them after the election and not before!!!!! Huh, perhaps Senator Obama and his campaign did know where she was?
    Go figure this one sided nonsense.

    November 1, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. VinceP1974

    So let me get this straight.. Multi-Millionaire Obama has an aunt living in the country illegally and in poverty and public housing... and he has the nerve to call people who dont want their taxes jacked up "selfish"?

    What an arrogant jerk.

    I would be interested to know how many more related foreign nationals are here in the country.. but that would require a "reporter" to ask him.

    November 1, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  12. gumps

    It's a shame what American (and especially republican) politics has become. I don't ever want to hear Christian Conservative in the same sentence with deragotory remarks. Evidently they are not Christ like at all, just dumb people looking for a cause that excuses them from being hypocrits of the wost kind. Don't besmirch my religion, you people are pathetic. You don't care about how many people are killed as a result of wars, famine, tragedy of natural sources, just as long as you have Roe V Wade overturned. How about instead of that, you adopt all the unwanted babies from unwanted pregnancies. Stand up, be proud of what you preach and if you don't want to do that, shut up.
    Remember, Christ himself said he hated hipocrits...think about it. And as for politics, it should only be about the running of the country's
    business....and that does not include religious leanings. Follow the consitution people...separation of church and not mix the two, or it will destroy us all.

    November 1, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  13. john wilson,Pa

    They are millions illegal imigrant in us so what is here a big deal.The status of any imigrant is secret between the person and immigration.The law maker took the right decision.This need to be investigate immediatly.

    November 1, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  14. Ayo

    TOO ..............LATE.............FOR............... MCCAIN
    THAT...........WAS.........AN..............ADVICE............FROM..............W BUSH.

    November 1, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  15. Catholic-mom-4-OBAMA



    November 1, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  16. mbg

    I find this very disturbing that an employee of our Federal Government would leak information to the press about anyones family. They knew what they were doing to this man and his family. This is curruption at his finest. I cant believe in this day and age someone would stoop to this level. I hope and pray that McCains campain or the Bush administration doesnt have there hand in this. However it looks like a deplorable late minute mudslinging tactic by the GOP. I hope for America's sake I am wrong, but with the name calling and bashing Sen. Obama has endured thru this it would shock me in the least. I am sure Sarah the witch will be bashing this soon. I commend Obama campain for not attacking anyone's family in this campain. Thats is one of the reason among many he got my vote.

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

    I thought families were off limits.

    Let's vote already!!!!

    November 1, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  18. Hilary

    Let's vote already!!!!

    November 1, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  19. Dave

    Yep... looks like somebody's in trouble having violated confidentiality standards of the Immigration and Nationality Act (probably § 245a.21). I won't be surprised if it's some member of the RNC or McCain campaign. If you've had enough of the politics of personal destruction like I have please vote for Obama.

    November 1, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  20. gail

    would not surprise me, but what does this have to do with Obama for president just another jab. geez only 2 days and then we will see what the papers and journalist will print. voted early in texas obama 08

    November 1, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  21. Jeremiah

    so $265 and an illegal aunt.... this is the best that the McCain / Palin can come up with? C-mon Johnny boy I'm still waiting on answers about the Keaton 5 or your relationship with libby, or Palin's husband being part of an organization that wants to deunionize Alaska.... sounds like McCain knows he's beat

    November 1, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  22. Paige in Dallas, TX

    Beautifully said, Sue in Vienna, Va. I've been a Republican my entire life (now age 37) and I am so proud to have cast my vote for Obama. Sadly, I have lost much respect for Mr. McCain simply because of the way he has run his campaign and because of his poor choice of a running mate. There is not one doubt in my mind that Barack Obama is the right man for this job.

    November 1, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  23. KLEE

    Joe the Plumber leaked on himself – he wanted the attention and by golly he got it! It was John McCain that kept, time after time, bringing him up during the debate -– Joe has all this stuff going on now, gonna write a book, get a record label, etc. etc. – the guy may look like a fool – but he's playing for all its worth and so it the Republican Party...big sham!!

    November 1, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  24. Shannon

    This Bush Administration is a joke. Their sneaky and devilish. IF the Mccain camp did leak this than alot of people will be upset, Because family is OFF LIMITS!!!! OBTW, I haven't heard anything from Mccain Palin today reguarding this.. Hummm smells....

    November 1, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  25. Christian

    So What, You make a big deal out of this but you don't want to show what is on that tape that the La Times has, Why? is it because it shows what Obama truly thinks of Israel or how he laughed when that poem was read, or how he doesn't like the Jewish people. yep another thing that Obama says I wasn't aware, right like his frineds of Ayers, Dohrn, Rezko, Auchi his cousin Raili Odinga and what he done. Khaldi, You cover this up but want to know who told this. Why did his Aunt say I can't talk til the day after the election,. What are they afraid of. So she would have voted and her vote wouldn't have been legal. What he gets away with.

    November 1, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
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