While the Trump-stalking pro-“resistance” news media has been lightning-quick to pounce on any whiff of suspicion emanating from everything from a botched opposition research attempt by the President’s idiot son, to a “secret” meeting between the President and Putin that was in plain view. to a shockingly friendly letter to the President from a 9-year-old, it has been strangely incurious about this story, which to the non Trump-deranged is belching more smoke than any two “scandals” being investigated by the special counsel. No headlines, no segments on the broadcast news, except for Fox, of course. I haven’t written about it because it’s difficult to find sources other than Fox and Breitbart to rely on. I’m still unsure what exactly it all means
Up to the moment he was arrested for bank fraud as he attempted to leave the country for Pakistan, Imran Awan was being paid by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former chair of the Democratic National Committee, former Hillary Clinton campaign staffer (added immediately and shamelessly after having to resign after being revealed as leading the rigging of the nomination against Bernie Sanders and for Hillary), and hilariously dishonest spinner for Barack Obama for eight years, as her trusted IT guy. Well, as her IT guy, anyway.
Aswan’s wife, Hina Alvi, also in the family business of being paid by Democrats, had already fled the country with her three young daughters. The Awans had snagged a fraudulent $165,000 loan from the Congressional Federal Credit Union, and sent it home to Pakistan. Aswan’s position with the DNC and Wasserman-Schultz had given him and other nefarious collaborators—his relatives!— in various Hill IT department years of access to the e-mails and electronic files of members of the House’s Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees. They were accessing members’ computers without their knowledge, transferring files to remote servers, and stealing computer equipment, including hard drives.
The Democrats fired all of the Awans early this year, except, oddly, for Awan himself, who stayed on Debbie’s staff, collecting a heft salary. She kept him in a place that allowed access to the work product and communications of members of United States Congress right up until he was arrested.
What does this mean? We don’t know yet, and the news media is acting as if it doesn’t want to know. Asks Andrew McCarthy,
Why were they given access to highly sensitive government information? Ordinarily, that requires a security clearance, awarded only after a background check that peruses ties to foreign countries, associations with unsavory characters, and vulnerability to blackmail. These characters could not possibly have qualified. Never mind access; it’s hard to fathom how they retained their jobs…the [Aswans were]involved in various suspicious mortgage transfers. Abid Awan [Imran’s brother], while working “full-time” in Congress, ran a curious auto-retail business called “Cars International A” (yes, CIA), through which he was accused of stealing money and merchandise. In 2012, he discharged debts in bankruptcy (while scheming to keep his real-estate holdings). Congressional Democrats hired Abid despite his drunk-driving conviction a month before he started at the House, and they retained him despite his public-drunkenness arrest a month after. Beyond that, he and Imran both committed sundry vehicular offenses. In civil lawsuits, they are accused of life-insurance fraud. Congressional Democrats hired Abid despite his drunk-driving conviction a month before he started at the House, and they retained him despite his public-drunkenness arrest a month after. Democrats now say that any access to sensitive information was “unauthorized.”
But how hard could it have been to get “unauthorized” access when House Intelligence Committee Dems wanted their staffers to have unbounded access? In 2016, they wrote a letter to an appropriations subcommittee seeking funding so their staffers could obtain “Top Secret — Sensitive Compartmented Information” clearances. TS/SCI is the highest-level security classification. Awan family members were working for a number of the letter’s signatories. Democratic members, of course, would not make such a request without coordination with leadership. Did I mention that the ranking member on the appropriations subcommittee to whom the letter was addressed was Debbie Wasserman Schultz? Why has the investigation taken so long? Why so little enforcement action until this week? Why, most of all, were Wasserman Schultz and her fellow Democrats so indulgent of the Awans?
The probe began in late 2016. In short order, the Awans clearly knew they were hot numbers. They started arranging the fraudulent credit-union loan in December, and the $283,000 wire transfer occurred on January 18. In early February, House security services informed representatives that the Awans were suspects in a criminal investigation. At some point, investigators found stolen equipment stashed in the Rayburn House Office Building, including a laptop that appears to belong to Wasserman Schultz and that Imran was using. Although the Awans were banned from the Capitol computer network, not only did Wasserman Schultz keep Imran on staff for several additional months, but [Representative Carrie] Meeks retained [ Awan’s wife] Alvi until February 28 — five days before she skedaddled to Lahore. Strange thing about that: On March 5, the FBI (along with the Capitol Police) got to Dulles Airport in time to stop Alvi before she embarked. It was discovered that she was carrying $12,400 in cash. As I pointed out this week, it is a felony to export more than $10,000 in currency from the U.S. without filing a currency transportation report. It seems certain that Alvi did not file one: In connection with her husband’s arrest this week, the FBI submitted to the court a complaint affidavit that describes Alvi’s flight but makes no mention of a currency transportation report. Yet far from making an arrest, agents permitted her to board the plane and leave the country, notwithstanding their stated belief that she has no intention of returning.
Many congressional staffers are convinced that they’d long ago have been in handcuffs if they pulled what the Awans are suspected of. Nevertheless, no arrests were made when the scandal became public in February. For months, Imran has been strolling around the Capitol. In the interim, Wasserman Schultz has been battling investigators: demanding the return of her laptop, invoking a constitutional privilege (under the speech-and-debate clause) to impede agents from searching it, and threatening the Capitol Police with “consequences” if they don’t relent. Only last week, according to Fox News, did she finally signal willingness to drop objections to a scan of the laptop by federal investigators. Her stridency in obstructing the investigation has been jarring.
As evidence has mounted, the scores of Democrats for whom the Awans worked have expressed no alarm. Instead, we’ve heard slanderous suspicions that the investigation is a product of — all together now — “Islamophobia.” … The Awans have had the opportunity to acquire communications and other information that could prove embarrassing, or worse, especially for the pols who hired them. Did the swindling staffers compromise members of Congress? Does blackmail explain why were they able to go unscathed for so long? And as for that sensitive information, did the Awans send American secrets, along with those hundreds of thousands of American dollars, to Pakistan?
1. If Debbie Wasserman Shultz isn’t third on the Ethics Alarms all-time list of most-flagged ethics miscreants (Donald Trump and Hillary would be ahead of her), I don’t know who I’m forgetting. It was her DNC (and its worthy successor, Donna Brazile’s DNC) that made the 2016 election for me a choice between incompetent and stupid, and incompetent and corrupt. I’m pretty good at making tough choices, but that one was beyond me. I still couldn’t make that choice. Since November 8, Trump is no worse than I expected, and the Democrats have signaled their rejection of democracy.
2. One thing you can say about the twin Trump family idiots in the opposition research fiasco: they didn’t hide once the meeting came to light. Wasserman Schultz is hiding. She hasn’t been willing to talk to reporters and answer questions; of course, journalists haven’t been very aggressive in seeking her out, either. The looming karma of the manufactured Russian collusion narrative boomeranging on the Democrats must be making them very nervous.
Imagine what a serious, objective, non-partisan and trustworthy news media would be doing with such a potentially explosive story. If only it wasn’t so potentially damaging to their “side.”
3. Oh, am I being unfair to the news media, you unethical mainstream news media enablers? Here is the New York Times headline: “Trump Fuels Intrigue Surrounding a Former I.T. Worker’s Arrest.” This shady story involving Democratic members of Congress and the former chair of the Democratic National Committee is about President Trump. Sure it is.
Bias not only makes you stupid, it makes you impossible to take seriously. Or trust. Or respect.
4. Writes the Times:
“To hear some commentators tell it, with the help of his family and a cushy job on Capitol Hill, Mr. Awan, a Pakistani-American, had managed to steal computer hardware, congressional data and even — just maybe — a trove of internal Democratic National Committee emails that eventually surfaced last summer on WikiLeaks.”
To that, the Times reports that Xochitl Hinojosa, a spokeswoman for the Democratic committee, called the suggestion “laughable”:
“He was never employed by the D.N.C. The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russia was behind the D.N.C. hack.”
Ann Althouse astutely comments, “Does Hinojosa have any idea that she’s heightening our suspicion of the opinion of the U.S. intelligence community? ”
5. As I said at the beginning, I’m still unsure what all of this means, except this: the double standard exhibited by the news media in their diligence in pursuing potentially important stories depending on whether it is potentially damaging to Republican or Democrats could not be more disturbing. We literally cannot trust that the truth will be sought until it is revealed, or that it will be revealed if it is established.
35 thoughts on “Debbie Wasserman Schultz And Her Shady Pakistani Tech”
I posted two days ago on the “Morning Ethics Round-Up” (07/28/2017 edition):
“…I’ll believe this story has legs until Chris assures me it’s FAKE NEWS.
I’ve heard nothing; I’m at a loss, what am I supposed to think…Chris….?
Well, why the FBI didn’t arrest Ms. Awan at the airport amazes me. The Keystone Cops that the FBI apparently has become under James Comey maybe part of the reason. Still, they have Mr. Awan and this may well turn into the Democrat’s Watergate.
Have you heard anything about the investigation being headed up by Steve Wasserman, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’ brother?
Well one network is covering this mess:
I wonder if big names in the media wouldn’t want to report this because big names in the media might somehow be ultimately tied to all this?
“In 2016, they wrote a letter to an appropriations subcommittee seeking funding so their staffers could obtain “Top Secret — Sensitive Compartmented Information” clearances. TS/SCI is the highest-level security classification. Awan family members were working for a number of the letter’s signatories.”
This is scary. While I was an enlisted man in the Air Force I had a TS/SCI/Crypto clearance. SCI is the information about how intelligence is collected and analyzed. Revealing this type of information would tell the enemy not only what you knew but how you knew it and shut down sources or allow the enemy to use them to supply false information. I can’t think of any reason for anyone to have access to this information who is not working in the intelligence collection field. Even people who have administrative oversight do not have a need to know specific technical details of how the job is performed. It is the most damaging information that can be leaked to a foreign power other than the actual crypto used to protect our information.
It seems pretty clear that Awan would have had access to any such information on the computers. It also seems pretty clear that he would be relaying it to Pakistan. What isn’t clear to me is whether DWS is so incredibly stupid she didn’t realize what she was doing or if she did realize and didn’t care. I have difficulty believing anyone in her position could be that stupid but I also hate to believe that we have an elected representative who would want to deliberately cause serious harm to the United States or just did’t care if that occurred.
“What isn’t clear to me is whether DWS is so incredibly stupid she didn’t realize what she was doing or if she did realize and didn’t care.”
Reminds me of a politically connected CEO of a company I used to represent who once quipped that you’d be scared to death if you really knew the people that are ‘in charge’ of making decisions that affect people’s lives.
And that was over 30 years ago.
Except DWS’s deficits have been on display for all to see for year, like Pelosi’s, like McConnell’s, like Reid’s, like Hillary’s, like Trump’s. People choose these individuals to lead them, with all the evidence how aful and untrustworthy they are clear and beyond dispute.
John, believe it. Both. It is quite a leap from this guy being dishonest to this guy being the WikiLeaks source, but it does follow logically, and DMS’s involvement is almost a certainty.
“I can’t think of any reason for anyone to have access to this information who is not working in the intelligence collection field.”
1) If Awan was an I.T. guy, it would be normal–indeed required–for him to have access to any and all information stored on the computer networks that he worked on. It’s just the nature of being a systems admin on a computer system.
2) Since the September 11 attacks, the government has started requiring security clearances for many more categories of I.T. staff, including ones who work on systems that entirely unclassified. The idea is that access to ENOUGH sensitive but unclassified can quickly reach a critical mass where the sum total of it requires a level of trust similar to classified systems (e.g. details of known security vulnerabilities in an unclassified system).
So, I’m not at all saying that Awan actually should have been awarded a TS/SCI clearance, and I’m not saying that–if he DID have one–it shouldn’t have been revoked.
What I am saying is that it’s not the least bit unusual for government officials to officially request that someone in his profession be investigated and awarded the necessary clearances. It’s pretty routine, actually.
Good points. For number 1, I agree that anyone who can access a computer with any level of classified information on it must be cleared for that level of information. Many people in all kinds of jobs have clearance for secret and top secret information because there is so much of it around. SCI is a much higher classification and dissemination is much more tightly controlled. It is the kind of stuff that is typically handled in a totally secure building with only people having an SCI level clearance being allowed in the building. I can’t see why anyone outside of those who are working directly to collect and analyze raw intelligence, including the IT people, would need access to SCI for any reason. SCI is also information, that at least when I was handling it, was never revealed to a foreign national (possibly excepting the British). It is so sensitive, for example the British ULTRA secret, that revealing it in any way will have extremely severe consequences.
Number 2 is also well taken. This was true even before computers were so ubiquitous. One of the jobs of a military attache was to collect all of the information that could be found openly because putting all of the little pieces together could provide significant information. Japan was very secretive but quite a bit about Japanese naval capability was learned in that manner before WW II. Another example is that popular books may actually contain things that could be put together and reveal classified information. When I was in training, David Kahn’s book The Codebreakers came out. We were ordered that if anyone asked us about anything in it our only reply was to be “no comment.” Now it is for sale in the NSA museum. I highly recommend visiting the museum if you are in the DC area. The RC-130 on display there is one of the types of aircraft I was a crew member on back in the day.
Tom Clancy pieced together enough public information to write about secret stuff in his novels. He was visited by some folks who have had their sense of humor surgically removed: good thing he documented his sources.
Some things he wrote about, although obsolete today, I would STILL go to jail for revealing. TS/SCI oath is for life.
” SCI is also information, that at least when I was handling it, was never revealed to a foreign national (possibly excepting the British). ”
Any sharing took special waivers. NOFORN means no Brits either… without a waiver.
In my brilliant career ( career – to go wildly downhill in an uncontrolled manner ) – I have had NTK for lots of things, from very sensitive military technical data to even more sensitive political and criminal matter.
Some of the compartments I’ve had access to, their mere existence is highly sensitive.
” I can’t see why anyone outside of those who are working directly to collect and analyze raw intelligence, including the IT people, would need access to SCI for any reason.”
Test data. Those building the IT systems for handling SCI data have NTK on every compartment the system handles, to ensure the system does what it is supposed to. In parallel running live tests, this means exposure to such info, especially when the system is incomplete, has a problem and leaks.
Consider those who formulate the dummy test data so it has all the characteristics of the real McCoy. They have NTK of the real data, all of it, to generate test cases with sufficiently wide coverage.
After formulating the test data, their NTK expires. Late in the system’s lifecycle, they may be called in again for debugging and adding functionality, so often they get periodically recleared even without access. The higher the clearance, the shorter time it lasts.
Such people with the keys to multiple kingdoms are really rare, you minimise the number. Being rare though, they’re much in demand, until it’s decided they’d know too much if they continued, so are retired from that frantic pace after a few years. But I digress.
“Consider those who formulate the dummy test data so it has all the characteristics of the real McCoy. They have NTK of the real data, all of it, to generate test cases with sufficiently wide coverage.”
This is not how IT works. This is not how data testing works. This is not how security testing works.
Electronic data comes in just a few forms. Photos, graphics, text, spreadsheets, and a few others. There is nothing special about TS data: it is the same format as Taco Bell’s payroll. Taco Bell quality assurance testers do not need to know the actual employee information to build a system to handle such data. Dummy data is used, yes, but access to the actual data is not needed to do so, and indeed would be stupid for Taco Bell to provide. You simply solicit a data model from the customer and go from there.
Exposing such data to someone without a TS/SCI clearance is what the system is intended to prevent.
This sound like someone providing cover for a progressive operative and Congresswoman who, like ‘password’ Petraeus and the DNC, was too stupid to pour water out of a boot with instructions on the sole.
This story broke last Monday, yet the Gray Lady waits til Friday to take note…on page A-18.
The headline for Nicholas Fandos’ Johnny-Come-Lately, whiny finger-pointing piece?
“Trump Fuels Intrigue Surrounding a Former I.T. Worker’s Arrest”
And yet there are regular, respected commenters here who routinely argue that mainstream media bias is a conservative delusion. And this really IS enabling. If the Times caught hell from their liberal readers for this kind of unethical story burying, they would eventually stop it.
Give a listen to this reporter nailing a clueless SanFranNan.
Couldn’t determine which outlet she’s with (it’s a safe bet the ones she’s NOT with), but here are some media types that will ask hard questions.
These 3 brothers, who some are referring to as “part-timers,” were being compensated at 3X the going rate. It’s also being alleged that one of them had helped DW-S & the DNC orchestrate the rat-fucking of Bernie Sanders.
“The looming karma of the manufactured Russian collusion narrative boomeranging on the Democrats must be making them very nervous.”
Ya think? If there’s a giant sucking sound inside the beltway, it’s the horrified, collective keester-clutching gasps of those who’re caught up in this rapidly intensifying shit-storm (sans umbrellas) and KNOW it.
Isn’t it conventional wisdom that, if you have to get in trouble in D.C., don’t do it in the summer when nothing much else is grabbing headlines?
That sounded like “Huminahuminahumina”.
A smoking gun. The headline, I mean.
Is it typical? Maybe not, but even if not, even one such instance is unacceptable.
“If the Times caught hell from their liberal readers for this kind of unethical story burying, they would eventually stop it.”
And I thought *I* was naive… It’s not about the NYT’s future actions though, those are irrelevant. It’s about the ethical obligation of readers of all political pursuasions to “give em hell” and keep on giving it to them while they persist. Even if it has no effect.
”ethical obligation of readers of all political pursuasions to ‘give em hell’ and keep on giving it to them while they persist.” (bolds mine)
Hopefully my book We Persisted comes out before Chelsea Clinton catches wind of it; you’ll receive the appropriate citation…
Fair and balanced comment, Sue. Both sides have this responsibility.
That said, it is possible that we will never know. The FBI that Comey built is doing the investigating and we would have to trust the MSM to tell us even if the Keystone Cops find anything. Don’t hold your breath.
Where are our dedicated Trump haters…the one’s who froth at the mouth every time Trump is still alive?
Whither have they departed?
Oh that’s right, criticizing Trump firing an awful member of the administration will always take precedence over Democrat peons heisting information and selling it to foreign governments…
Can’t speak for the TDS sufferers, but the nets/cable outlets had topics of far greater import topics to tend.
Like the Cubs giving Chicago pariah/whipping boy/Public Enemy # 1 Steve Bartman a 2016 World Series ring and Kathy Griffin shaving her empty head.
Making a name for themselves is the Daily Caller, an outlet I rarely read and even more rarely cite; they’re leading the pack on this.
So lonely here without our reliable Lefty denigrati…
I guess they are somewhere hating on Trump for firing someone that they were going to hate on Trump if he hadn’t fired that someone, I suppose.
You mean, like Comey, who Democrats accused of committing a crime by re-opening the Hillary e-mail investigation? Gee. isn’t it appropriate to fire FBI directors who commit crimes? Answer: not when Trump does it.
I wonder if the Trump Hate Contagion disables ethics alarms permanently, or only for 4 to 8 years?
“Trump Fuels Intrigue Surrounding a Former I.T. Worker’s Arrest.”
Trump is turning into their Snowball from Animal Farm. His devious hand is going to be behind every weed in the field.
Kind of curious…if it turns out that this clown hacked the DNC and SOLD the information to WikiLeaks, will the MSM remain a quiet as they are now?
For as long as they can…
My my; if THAT wouldn’t be a wickedly ironic twist!
Ye-e-e-e-e-s, yes, wouldn’t it.
I now have my doubts, has a real real mean Islamophobic YouTube video been ruled out yet?
Debbie is an idiot, and I suspect that she has also been blackmailed. No matter: democrats are above the law the rest of us peasants live under.
Can we at least all agree that this is a serious issue that needs professional investigation?
While there may be no “there” there, that’s not a certainty (to put it mildy). And anything less than a certainty of nothingburger, let alone the very strong probability of real wrongdoing that appears to be the case here, deserves a nonpartisan, objective and highly inquisitive investigation.