by George Rasley, ConservativeHQ.com Editor
Wednesday, one of the most remarkable political events of the 21st Century played out in an obscure Capitol Hill hearing room, and no one in the establishment media paid the least bit of attention to it.
Two months have passed since the August 17 indictment of Pakistani national Imran Awan and his wife Hina Alvi, who were technology staffers for Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (FL-23), former Chair of the Democratic National Committee.
House IT ScandalBrothers Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan were barred from computer networks at the House of Representatives, The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group reported on Tuesday, February 7, 2016.
The brothers and Hina R. Alvi (Imran Awan’s wife) are suspected of serious violations, including accessing members’ computer networks without their knowledge and stealing equipment from Congress reported our friend Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller News Foundation. Alvi was a House IT employee who works for many of the same members as the three brothers, as well as the House Democratic Caucus.
Also implicated in the investigation are Natalia Sova, a Ukrainian national who is married to Abid Awan and Rao Abbas, also a Pakistani national often described as Imran Awan’s best friend.
The Awan ring is known to have begun penetrating House Democratic members’ IT networks in 2004, when Imran Awan began work for Rep. Wasserman Schultz and quickly began to place his relatives and friends as IT administrators for Democrats, particularly for those who sat on sensitive national security-related committees.
PJ Media’s Debra Heine reported that Imran Awan worked for more than two dozen Democrats since 2004.
The four Muslim employees worked for at least three members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Five members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs were among the dozens of members who employed the suspects on a shared basis. The two committees deal with many of the nation’s most sensitive issues, information and documents, including those related to the war with radical Islamic terrorism.
Jamal Awan handled IT for Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Texas Democrat who serves on both the intelligence and foreign affairs panels.
Imran Awan handled IT for Rep. Gregory Meeks, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee where he is the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats.
Imran Awan also worked for Rep. Andre Carson, an Indiana Democrat and one of two Muslims in the House of Representatives, and Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat. Both are members of the intelligence committee.
The Awans have been tied to Dr. Ali Al-Attar, a Hezbollah-connected Iraqi, now on the run from a variety of felony fraud and tax evasion charges stemming from an insurance and Medicare scam he ran in Maryland and Virginia.
Back in February, the Chiefs of staff for dozens of Democratic lawmakers who employed members of the Awan ring were informed that a criminal probe was underway into their use of congressional information technology systems, including the existence of an external server to which House data was being funneled, and into the theft of and overbilling for computer equipment.
A Democratic House IT worker told Luke Rosiak “there’s probably a core of 8-10 members that know what’s going on,” including Wasserman Schultz and [Rep. Gregory] Meeks. “Several members should be kicked off the Hill.”
With that background, one would expect that the House, through its Ethics or Administration Committee or Government Reform Committee or all three, would promptly hold hearings to get to the bottom of what went on, but none of the Committees has had a substantive hearing or has announced an investigation.
In apparent response, an informal hearing was held on October 10 by a handful of members of the Freedom Caucus. The lead witness was the Daily Caller’s Luke Rosiak who complained of an “extraordinary level of silence from official channels” about the scandal.
Our friend, Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch also testified at the October 10 “hearing” and his insightful comments are worth repeating:
When it comes to crimes with a political component I fear the Justice Department is going to fear to tread because of the political nature of what went on. They are not going to push the House; we’ve already seen pushback from Debbie Wasserman Schultz against law enforcement over her prerogatives, her office’s prerogatives here, and I fear the Justice Department is going to be fearful over raising these issues with the House for fear of embarrassing the leadership of both parties, and that’s something we need to push the Justice Department on, that they don’t undercharge or under-investigate this for fear of the consequence that will happen if they push further with this and find a national security threat at our breasts here in the House.
We agree with Peter Flaherty, President, National Legal and Policy Center, who summed-up the October 10 unofficial hearing by saying, “When politicians fail to act in their own obvious self-interest, it usually means something else is up. So, in this case, what is it? One possibility is that the Awans were so fully embedded on Capitol Hill that electronic data belonging to members of both parties was compromised. Perhaps Republicans are just as fearful as Democrats of what the Awans stole and what ultimately they will do with it.”
Flaherty went on to put into words what our take on this has been since the Democrat IT scandal first broke and the Republican leadership studiously ignored it: A greater possibility is that the House branch of the Republican Party has ceased to function as a real political force.
We are reminded that back in the period 1989 to 1992, the House Bank scandal ensnared over 247 then-current and 56 former members of the House in what amounted to a check kiting scheme. Among the abusers were many prominent members of the Democratic Party, including Committee Chairmen, and some Republicans, too.
When the Democratic leadership of the House was finally pummeled into releasing the names of all of those involved in the scheme, the New York Times observed that “though Republicans were about as likely to make the overdraft list as were Democrats, their party’s campaigners had a new television spot ready to hand out as soon as the list was released. Its theme was bouncing balls, bouncing checks and ‘Bounce the Democrats’.”
The greatest political scandal of the 21st Century isn’t that the Democrats allowed, or perhaps even facilitated the penetration of the House IT network by a ring of operatives with known ties to hostile Islamist interests, it is that once the penetration became known, Speaker Paul Ryan and his leadership team have done nothing to expose it and to pursue the facts to their conclusion.
We urge CHQ readers to call the Speaker’s office, (the Capitol Switchboard is 1-866-220-0044) tell Speaker Ryan you demand hearings on the Awan Democrat IT scandal and that you want the facts exposed and pursued to their logical conclusion, no matter where they lead.
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George Rasley is editor of Richard Viguerie’s ConservativeHQ.com. A veteran of over 300 political campaigns, he served on the staff of Vice President Dan Quayle, as Director of Policy and Communication for Congressman Adam Putnam (FL-12) then Vice Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, and as spokesman for Rep. Mac Thornberry now-Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
Reprinted with permission from ConservativeHQ.com.