Springing A Leak

by dday

I don't know if these 11th-hour smears are going to work at a time when the total financial meltdown tends to focus the mind a bit. But if undecideds were looking for an excuse to vote against Senator Obama, they've been handed it. It appears that Obama has an aunt from Kenya who is living in Boston illegally after her request for asylum was denied four years ago. Illegal!!!1! By the way, Barack Obama doesn't seem to know this aunt well or have any sort of relationship with her.

(Also, she apparently gave a small amount of donations to the campaign, which Obama has just given back.)

The interesting part of this is how the asylum denial was discovered. The quoted portion is from this AP story.

"Information about the deportation case was disclosed and confirmed by two separate sources, one of them a federal law enforcement official. The information they made available is known to officials in the federal government, but the AP could not establish whether anyone at a political level in the Bush administration or in the McCain campaign had been involved in its release."

To quote Josh Marshall:

That's about as transparent a red flag as an outfit like the AP is usually willing to give. And there you have it. Quite likely working in concert with the McCain campaign, a Bush administration official is leaking details on an immigration case to try to help McCain three days before the election. It's shades of Bush I's riffling through Bill Clinton's passport files just before the 1992 election in a desperate last minute gambit as they were swirling down the drain.

Guess what? THAT'S illegal. And unlike some random relative who has no relationship to Obama, it's likely this was carried out at the highest levels of either the Bush Administration or the McCain campaign.

We'll see if it has any impact - I think it will be minimal. But the circumstances of the leak ought to be investigated as well.

...By the way, here are some things that could have driven the news cycle as last-minute revelations about McCain that were ignored by the larger media:

1) A mysterious donor who gave $70,000 to John McCain in one day and $269,000 over the course of a year.

2) John and Cindy used military jets for vacation trips to Bermuda back in 1993.

3) A potential fatal car crash back in 1964.

4) McCain pushed regulators to approve a land swap for a key contributor.

Any or all of these could have been in the genre of these last-minute smears, but you know, that wouldn't be sporting.

...and John Conyers weighs in on this leak:

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. 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 suggesting indeed. This leak is deplorable and I urge you to take immediate action to investigate and discipline those responsible.

I note that this is not the first leak of law enforcement information apparently designed to influence the coming Presidential election -- in recent weeks law enforcement sources leaked information about an alleged investigation of a community services organization, a leak that the Department of Justice informs me has been referred to the Department's Office of the Inspector General and Professional Responsibility.

Such leaks are deeply harmful to the political process, and the American people expect and deserve better from their government and its law enforcement agencies.