You’d think media would jump all over a story that sounds like a spy novel.
A family of workers is contracted by members of Congress to take care of IT needs. Said family receives millions of US tax dollars over a period of several years. Ultimately, family members get a second look and it turns out things are very sketchy, including alleged breaches of data, laundered money, and the fact members of this family work for congressional members who serve on the House Intel Committee. The family patriarch was busted by the FBI on Monday as he tried to leave the United States.
Media haven’t jumped all over the story. At the heart of it is Debbie W. Shultz who left her position as head of Democrats’ National Committee after another scandal that quickly was buried as the 2016 presidential election approached. Schultz still serves in the House of Representatives, keeping her membership on influential committees like Appropriations.
The latest development came on Monday, July 24, when a key actor in the House IT scandal was arrested at Dulles Airport. Imran Awan, a native of Pakistan, is now facing charges, according to The Daily Caller:
“Bill Miller, spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, told TheDCNF that Awan “was arraigned today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on one count of bank fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344. He pled not guilty and was released pursuant to a high-intensity supervision program. The conditions of release are that he receive a GPS monitor, he abide by a curfew of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., and that he not leave a 50-mile radius of his residence in Virginia. Awan was also ordered to turn over all of his passports.”
TDC also reported:
“Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s top information technology (IT) aide was arrested Monday attempting to board a flight to Pakistan after wiring $283,000 from the Congressional Federal Credit Union to that country.”
An earlier story at TDC said:
“Soon after Imran Awan joined the staff of Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in 2005, his brothers Abid and Jamal, his wife Hina, and his brother’s wife Natalia all appeared on other members’ payrolls, supposedly as IT administrators. His best friend Rao Abbas landed on the payroll too. Most of them made salaries ordinarily only chiefs of staff earn, but they were rarely seen or heard from in Hill IT circles.”
Mr. Abbas got his federal job after he “lost his job at McDonald’s.” I had to read that twice to believe it.
As IT workers, these individuals in question would have had access to congressional records and information, and passwords.
Ms. Schultz is mum about the scandal, even on Twitter where she posts lots of content. Adam Schiff, congressman from California who has cast much suspicion on President Donald Trump and his staff for unsubstantiated claims about Russia, hasn’t said a word about a scandal based on evidence and tangibles.
Imran Awan apparently took a page from the playbook of Hillary Clinton. TDC said, “[T]he FBI had joined the investigation and seized smashed hard drives from Imran’s home.”
The Daily Caller is one of the few media outlets covering this story consistently. The breaches raise serious questions about US national security and possibly the 2016 election. Why are Democrats and some key Republicans uninterested in pursuing this? Why hasn’t Speaker of the House Paul Ryan called for a special investigation?
Conservative Review noted Awan’s attorney is closely linked to the Clinton apparatchik. The attorney has accused critics of the family’s setup of ‘Islamophobia.’
An interesting panel discussion on Fox Business included participants who pointed out serious risks to US national security because of this breach. Apparently it was news to the FBI, perhaps because there was no Russia angle and the agency’s leader at the time might have feared the ‘Islamophobia’ backlash.
I believe Awan is a flight risk. It will surprise me if he doesn’t manage to get back to his native country before trial.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/July 26, 2017)
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