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. Te

    Mrs. Palin calling from a cellular phone is still insisting that the signs in the sun, the moon, the stars should be imminent.

    Hopefully, McCain,73, will retire now.

    November 1, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  2. erika in seattle

    Why is this non story a story three days before the election. I saw an article on fox news earlier this week detailing a half aunt living in public housing. Hannity was whining about why an accomplished politician would have an aunt living in poverty. Now that she may or may not be illegal CNN wants to jump on the bandwagon? Did I miss something?

    November 1, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  3. Koilor Kimba

    The information about Senator Obama's Aunt illegal stay is definately from the Republic Party as part of their campaign tactics. Obviously for the republicans especially Senator Mccain for his age it is a last chance fight in his political career for the highest office. Because of this they are exploring every unethical and criminal means to get to official office. It is totally a shame of people who use a needed situation like Obama's Aunt to advance political gains. As you may know Kenya where she came from have had savage unrest causing many lives. Cann't these people who are persueing read newspapers or are they so heartless because of political gain.

    We hope that the Departmjent of Homeland Security will not be left to rest till the doer of this act is brought to justice. These individuals could also sell important information or setup false alarm or scandalize an innocent person – this is a worst terrorist and felony crime to the state.

    May God Bless USA.

    Koilor Kimba

    November 1, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  4. what?

    wow this is so embarrased for the department of homeland security

    November 1, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  5. Iowa Obama

    CNN, Why don't you just say openly that you are endorsing McCain?
    Other Media houses have openly stated their feelings and endorsements.I hope that Americans will see through this and vote for the candidate who will make the Economy much better than right now- Obama/Biden.
    The timing of reporting of this news(last saturday before Elections)? I smell something not right here CNN!!

    November 1, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  6. Michael, Los Angeles CA

    This is beyond disgusting, the press should be unbelievably ashamed of itself. Unbelievably ashamed.

    Including CNN.

    November 1, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. billmel8er

    I guess we are going to hear from now until Tuesday how he pals around with illegal immigrants! For crying out loud enough is enough.

    November 1, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. conservative

    Shocking isn't it how much the left has tried to cover all of Obamas secrets and how much we don't know about this man who would be president !! Talk about lunacy in this quest for power !

    November 1, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. Tom in Delaware

    While you're at it, why don't you look into why MSM knows more about Joe the Plumber in 21 days than we do about Barack Obama in 21 months.

    November 1, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  10. Theresa

    This is not important at all! Just more fear-mongering tactics in deperation from McSame and campaign... targeted at the low-information, ignorant and racist people out there.

    November 1, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  11. Dee

    Obama met this aunt briefly. He was not raised by his father so of course he would not have as strong a bond with that side of his family. It is really funny how most criticize yet I seriously doubt that you would financially support all the extended members of your family if you had the resources to do it. This election and the comments posted by many on these blogs, who constantly attack Obama's character (when they have never met him) really show that we still have a long way to go as a country. Both Obama and McCain are politicians- we will never truly know either one of them.

    November 1, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  12. KLEE

    remember this "You don't need to "BOO" you just need to "VOTE" – thank you Obama for that wisdom.. No matter which side we are on we need to vote – and we need to vote with honesty in our hearts that it is the best for this country and this countries standing in the world – because "we are the leader" lets not go down fighting among ourselves.

    November 1, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  13. Esther

    Why would this matter? If she is in fact an illegal I am sure Obama will know what to do to work it out. Not like this isn't a common occurrence in the US.

    November 1, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  14. Wendy

    Right...Obama's immigration status is a question, but Palin's medical records are not?

    annnddd...Joe the deadbeat dad/tax owing buffoon in an American Hero and John McCain's role model? No wonder he's losing.

    November 1, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  15. sue

    Why are they saying that she "MAY" be in the country illegally? Why "MAY"?
    Will it come out 5 days from now that they were wrong?

    November 1, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  16. Arlene, Illinois

    I want to know more about John McCain's "Joe the Plumber" record
    1) Covictions of Domestic Violence
    2) 2 Divorces involving Domestic Abuse

    November 1, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  17. Independent in Portland

    McCain stopped being a 'maverick' some time ago, and just became another slave to the Repub political machine. His competitive ego and desire to win overtook good judgement. Palin's selection was the first glaring sign; this is just the most recent. It is this trend, more than anything else, that has changing my original intention to vote for McCain.

    November 1, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  18. Peg

    Gee, and hear I thought the October surprise would be the capture of Bin Laden but nope it's the *capture* of Obama's aunt. Such desperation from the McCain camp.

    November 1, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  19. Josh

    Backed by a administration that trampled on citizens rights, this is just a token gift for McCain. There are much more distressing issues raised by McCain/Palin campaign than this matter. Can the truth police get Palin and stop her poisoning this country!!

    November 1, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  20. Pete

    Desperate republicans are getting dirty

    November 1, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |

    The Bush administration is doing all this against Obama because they know he will investigate how they have brought this great country that we all love too close to rock bottom and global shame.

    November 1, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  22. Kim

    So much for the Republicans and keep government privacy laws in check. First Valerie Plame- which I have to ask- why in the world would you give anyone's name in the CIA if they are undercover or not. This is national security. Then breaking privacy law as to further your party . No wonder we have lost faith in out government. How can the Republicans justify any of this?

    November 1, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  23. Linda32

    Funny thing that people expect Obama to know about his Aunt's status, but McCain didn't even know about his own wife's drug addiction.

    November 1, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  24. SAT

    According to Senator Obama, he had very little contact with his father growing up. I've read his father had several wives and children while living in Kenya. Since his father's side of the family didn't raise him, it is understandable that Senator Obama might not be close to them. Therefore, he might not keep in touch on a regular basis like he would his mother's family.

    This story does sound desperate to me. Many illegal immigrants are here in this country. Go through the proper channels to correct the situation.

    November 1, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  25. Trevor

    I suspect that one day we will find in the dictionary, under fascism that the Republican party of this era will be given as a prime example!

    November 1, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
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