Report pins ICE employee for leak of Obama aunt's immigration status
September 5th, 2013
07:00 PM ET
9 years ago

Report pins ICE employee for leak of Obama aunt's immigration status

Washington (CNN) – Shortly before the 2008 presidential election, the illegal immigration status of then-candidate Barack Obama's aunt was leaked to an Associated Press reporter. The leaker of that information did not go unidentified, a newly released investigative report shows.

Under questioning, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement employee admitted telling a "rumor" to a reporter about Zeituni Onyango's immigration status – she had been denied asylum at the time and was facing deportation.

An immigration judge would eventually give her legal status allowing her to stay in the United States.

The inquiry found the ICE employee called the reporter on October 31, 2008, only a week before the election won by Obama. The employee's name was redacted from the report.

The investigation found that the employee disclosed an individual's immigration information without authorization, attempted to mislead investigators that his contact with the reporter was only social, and that he misused government property in leaking the information.

The report was completed August 10, 2010, but was released recently following a Freedom of Information Act request by the Huffington Post.

The employee would tell investigators that his leak was an "error in judgment" and had not considered the release of the information to be official – despite having done so from a government phone.

According to the report, the employee said: "I mean in retrospect it was an error in judgment. No doubt about it. I had no political motivations."

He thought of his disclosure of the information that "the American public has a right to know that."

The report gives no indication of any disciplinary measures conducted as a result.

Contacted for comment on Thursday, ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen would only comment about the department's policy.

"ICE does not comment on whether management action is taken as a result of an investigation done by OPR unless the resolution results in some kind of criminal or other public administrative action," Christensen said.

Read the detailed report here.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (197 Responses)
  1. wakeup

    you mis-informed people. Had NOTHING to do with him being from Kenya. It came out because his aunt was an ILLEGAL immigrant. She also supported him in the campaign with her illegal money. Not that it matters now – but please keep up.
    P.s. It is kinda funny now that they are after him and trying to punish him for telling truth.

    September 6, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. HZ

    Not politically motivated? Yeah, right. I'm independent. i like things to be fair. If someone is going to talk about the relatives of one candidate, let's hear all the dirt about all the relatives of EVERY candidate. Of course, neither side would want that!

    September 6, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  3. The Other Bob

    Even Darrell "Phony Scandal of the Week" Issa hasn't said Obama exerted undue influence in his aunt's case, so you Obama-haters will have to find something else. Maybe that recent nonsense about Obama putting his feet up on the desk in the Oval Office.

    September 6, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  4. Carrie

    It is really funny that all these Democrats say no big deal but if it was a Republicans aunt WATCH OUT!! Both parties just make me sick!

    September 6, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. Steve

    Political or not, you can't get around that. However, I think it is important that the public is aware that the President has an Aunt in the country illegally, no mention of the Uncle who is also illegal. Why after breaking Civil law was sh allowed to stay? Anyone here illegally should never, ever be allowed legal status. They have already proved they can not be trusted.

    September 6, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. Hogan's Goat

    "No doubt about it. I had no political motivations." That is hilarious. I guess his motivations had to be racist if they weren't political.

    September 6, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. Carrie

    Steve I totally agree with you!

    September 6, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. Joe

    Lets get this guys name out on the net, this guy should be hounded and tortured for what he did.

    September 6, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  9. RD

    Heaven forbid another of Obama's skeletons gets out of the closet. She was illegal and of course, is still here.

    September 6, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  10. blake

    Surprise. Surprise. An Obama family member gets preferential treatment with immigration. Corrupt to the core. While the GOP sits on their butts in fear or indifference and does nothing about multiple scandals with this administration.

    September 6, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. us_1776

    Check their banking and financial accounts.

    This information was bought and paid for by someone.


    September 6, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  12. Colin Capon

    There's nothing wrong with this. I don't know why CNN is even posting this in the news.

    September 6, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  13. Boytjie

    @Dave – the birther thingy is long dead; you lost that one, give it up.

    September 6, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  14. sly

    This Birther issue is still the Tea Party's #1 issue in America today: President Obama is really from another planet.

    There aren't any other issues that the Tea Party should be working on are there?

    I've also heard rumors that President Obama smoked pot in 1981. That is the Tea Parties #2 issue right now.

    September 6, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. TruthandConsequence

    What immigration judge will refuse to deport an illegal alien? One who wants to please Obama.

    September 6, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  16. samsart

    So a gov't employee, using gov't equipment, released information without permission, had no political motivation. I wonder what other information has been released by this same employee. And, oddly enough , for most of us, we cannot control what our relatives do or don't do, whether it's legal or illegal. So,if this is something that was necessary, why wasn't the less than uplifting information about all the candidates relatives released? Why is the American public so quick to support employees that intentionally breach the rules of their employment? Oh, that's right; as long as it's not one of your relatives, or your credit history, etc. then it's OK. Ridiculous.

    September 6, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    The Obama administration has used the power of the government to attack anybody and everybody that got in its way. This case is no different. The LSM has covered for Obama for 5-6 years because he was their chosen candidate. They have participated in covering up and hiding information damaging to him. It is a classic criminal conspiracy perpetrated on the American people by the very people whose job it to expose and prosecute criminal conspiracies. The leftist Obama administration and the leftist LSM (Obama propagandists) are corrupt from top to bottom.

    September 6, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  18. kite005

    No political motivations. Uh Huh sure.

    September 6, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. Adam

    He's a hero, like Bradley Manning! What a hero! Let's celebrate complete transparency!

    September 6, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. Scarface86

    The Other Bob nice talking points. I guess the death of four Americans, including an ambassador is a phony scandal if you do not want to critisize your beloved President. I guess the NSA taking away our freedom is phony. I guess the politiczation of the IRS is phony. In the immortal words of Hillary "What does it matter."

    September 6, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  21. cd

    Since Obama has been President our we now living in Russia,where we punish those who tell the truth against the imperial King Obama.

    September 6, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  22. givemea break

    I'm glad this is out in the open now. Who cares !

    September 6, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  23. Ricky

    Someone won't be getting a promotion in as long time. Furthermore, who cares about the aunt? She was not running for office, was she?

    She obviously did not even have a close relationship with the president, or she would have asked for sponsorship and not for asylum. The only people who ask for asylum are the ones who do not have a close relative to sponsor them.

    September 6, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  24. ART

    Hey Blake please do tell of what multiple scandals you are talking about. You don't mean the manufactured ones that Faux news keeps trying to bring up,that have already been proven to be nothing. So to you I say go FYS

    September 6, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  25. Common Sense

    I think most people are missing the point of the story. This is about another government worker who is out telling every business and he should be punish. Whether it is the president or your neighbor he shouldn't be talking to a reporter at all based on his clearance.

    We the publis should stop getting all this stuff twisted and start seeing what is really happening. Stop looking at the wagging dog tain and look at the dog teeth.

    September 6, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
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