Uh-oh. Probe widening.
You’re probably aware that, on Thursday, a federal Grand Jury indicted former Wasserman Schultz IT aide Imran Awan on four felony counts. Most agree that the charges – which include bank fraud, making false statements, and conspiracy – are just a placeholder. The investigation into a much larger set of crimes is ongoing and it’s virtually impossible to find anyone who thinks these few meager charges will be the end of the story.
According to the New York Post, the probe is ‘widening’ and their sources indicate that investigators now suspect that Imran Awan and his allies were stealing government info, including classified material, and selling it to both Pakistani and – wait for it – Russian intel agencies.
Federal authorities are investigating whether sensitive data was stolen from congressional offices by several Pakistani-American tech staffers and sold to Pakistani or Russian intelligence, knowledgeable sources say.
What started out 16 months ago as a scandal involving the alleged theft of computer equipment from Congress has turned into a national-security investigation involving FBI surveillance of the suspects.
Investigators now suspect that sensitive US government data — possibly including classified information — could have been compromised and may have been sold to hostile foreign governments that could use it to blackmail members of Congress or even put their lives at risk.
“This is a massive, massive scandal,” a senior US official familiar with the widening probe told The Post.
This would explain how an inexperienced IT crew (whose members boasted such resume-enhancers as “McDonald’s Fry Guy’) could parlay their general lack of knowledge into a huge $4 million windfall over the last 10 years.
The Democrats who hired the five suspects apparently did a poor job vetting them. Awan’s brother Abid had a rap sheet with multiple offenses, including a conviction for DWI a month before he was hired, and filed for bankruptcy in 2012.
…Most had relatively little IT experience. Yet they hauled in a combined $4 million-plus over the past decade. One, a former McDonald’s worker, was suddenly making as much as a chief of staff.
“These lawmakers allowed an insider threat to come into the House,” the official charged. “Computer equipment was stolen, taxpayers were robbed of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and sensitive data was compromised and possibly sold overseas.”
It certainly seems clear that there’s a lot more to this story than simple bank fraud and a few lies to federal investigators. The fact that Wasserman Schultz kept these people on her staff until they were arrested trying to flee the country – and had apparently planned to keep paying them even when they’d returned to Pakistan – speaks volumes. Given all the alarm bells, there’s just no sane reason to keep the Awans around – unless something is very seriously wrong.
Wasserman Schultz has been trying to play the race card, claiming she refused to fire anyone because she believed they were the innocent victims of a Republican anti-Islam witch-hunt. …But no one is buying it.
The big question is, what do investigators know, and when will the other shoe drop? …Or will it not drop at all?
The sad fact is that we’ve all grown accustomed to watching obvious corruption go unpunished. Whether it was Eric Holder’s multiple scandals, the IRS targeting scandal, the Benghazi YouTube lie, Hillary’s secret server, or the shady Tarmac meeting, we just spent 8 years taking a master class in the way the federal government protects and covers for its own.
I’d love to be wrong, but I’m not sure why we would think this is going to be any different – especially when it has the potential to be the final nail in the “Russian hackers” canard.