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.