Stand by your Awan
Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller reports that Debbie Wasserman Schultz seemed prepared to pay cyber-probe suspect and IT aide Imran Awan even while he was living in Pakistan, if the FBI hadn’t stopped him from leaving the U.S. This is only the latest indication of Wasserman Schultz’s immense loyalty to Awan.
As we noted here, the IT scandal involving the Awan family broke in February. It centered around the theft of the IT equipment and the “serious, potentially illegal, violations of House IT policies.” Yet, Wasserman Schultz kept Imran Awan on her payroll until last week.
This raises questions. The obvious one is: Why?
Wasserman Schultz’s explanation is that the Capitol police would not show her the evidence against him. She therefore assumed he might be victims of anti-Muslim profiling. Only after Awan was arrested at Dulles Airport and accused of bank fraud was Wasserman Schultz willing to drop her assumption that he was a victim, and fire him.
Wasserman Schultz’s explanation rings hollow. According to Rosiak, all other House members who employed Awan or members of his family fired them after the February revelations. This includes Andre Carson of Indiana, who is Muslim. Carson has criticized Wasserman Schultz for blocking police from examining a laptop tied to Imran.
Moreover, the fact that she blocked the police undercuts her explanation. If Wasserman Schultz really wanted to know whether the police had a basis, other than bias, for suspecting Awan of wrongdoing, she probably would not have worked to prevent the police from obtaining evidence that would help make this determination.
But suppose we take her explanation for continuing to pay Awan at face value. Surely, as a precaution, Wasserman Schultz would have denied Awan access to her computers after House authorities banned him from the network in early February. After all, it would be reckless to assume that anti-Muslim bias was the only plausible explanation for the House’s ban.
Yet, Rosiak says that Wasserman Scultz not only kept Awan on staff after the ban, but also had no other IT person to perform necessary work that presumably would have arisen during a months-long period, according to payroll records. This suggests that Awan might well have maintained access to Wasserman Schultz’s computers.
The congresswoman’s office did not answer the Daily Caller’s questions about this. It has said only that Imran Awan was working in an “advisory” role “providing advice on technology issues.” It has not said who performed the office’s computer work after the ban, if not Awan.
Another question is whether Wasserman Schultz would have kept paying Awan while he was in Pakistan for six months, the length of time between his departure and scheduled return date. Her office wouldn’t say.
However, Awan’s lawyer says his client told the House that he planned to visit his family in Pakistan, and Wasserman Schultz must have been so informed. Yet, he remained on the payroll until his arrest.
This much is clear. Debbie Wasserman Schultz stood by her man — a man in a position to know her secrets. Did she do so out of loyalty, out of concern for “social justice,” or for some darker reason?