PoliZette

The Rot at the Heart of DOJ’s Sweetheart Deal for Imran Awan

Justice Department prosecutors and congressional investigators both cannot be right about the House IT scandal

When Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors announced Tuesday they won’t press charges against House IT scandal kingpin Imran Awan, they violated one of the most fundamental rules of logic, the law of noncontradiction: That which is A cannot simultaneously also be non-A.

Either Awan, his wife, two of his brothers and an unrelated friend — all of whom at one time or another since 2005 worked as IT aides for more than 40 House Democrats, including numerous members of the Armed Services, Homeland Security and Intelligence committees — used their congressional IT positions for illegal, possibly subversive, purposes.

Or they didn’t.

Awan is either A or Non-A. He cannot be both.

Here’s the A, as explained by House sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving and House chief administrative officer Phil Kiko in a six-page, Feb. 7, 2017, memo marked “URGENT” and addressed to the House Committee on Administration:

Irving and Kiko said their investigation found “‘numerous and egregious violations of House IT security’ by members of the Awan family, including using Congress members’ usernames and ‘the unauthorized storage of sensitive House information outside the House … These employees accessed user accounts and computers for offices that did not employ them, without the knowledge and permission of the impacted member’s office,’ the Irving/Kiko memo said, adding, ‘Four of the employees accessed the Democratic Caucus computers 5,735 times.’

“More than 100 office computers were open to access from people not on the office’s staff, it said,” according to Daily Caller News Foundation’s Luke Rosiak, who first reported the document.

Related: Don’t Let Debbie Off the Hook on House IT Scandal, Trump Warns

Rosiak also reported that the House office of inspector general (IG) gave House leaders a presentation in September 2016, claiming Awan and two of his brothers were improperly accessing servers for the offices of members who had previously terminated them, and were illegally transferring data to an off-site server. The IG said the evidence “suggests steps are being taken to conceal their activity” and that their behavior mirrored a “classic method for insiders to exfiltrate data from an organization.”

All known members of the Awan group were terminated from their congressional positions in February 2017, except Imran and his wife, Hina Alvi, who were kept on by former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, until July 2017 — when Imran was arrested at Dulles International Airport after wiring nearly $300,000 to his home country of Pakistan.

Here’s the Non-A, the conclusion by DOJ prosecutors that they “found no evidence that [Imran] illegally removed House data from the House network or from House members’ offices, stole the House Democratic Caucus server, stole or destroyed House information technology equipment, or improperly accessed or transferred government information.”

Will Trump demand an explanation from DOJ and enforce accountability?

Prosecutors offered no explanation for why they reached that conclusion, nor did they offer any critique of the evidence or conclusions congressional investigators presented.

Almost exactly a month ago, President Donald Trump tweeted on the Awan case, saying, “Our Justice Department must not let Awan & Debbie Wasserman Schultz off the hook. The Democrat I.T. scandal is a key to much of the corruption we see today. They want to make a ‘plea deal’ to hide what is on their Server. Where is Server? Really bad!”

Significantly, there is no known Russia connection in the Awan case to restrain Trump from acting. So the question now is: Will Trump demand an explanation from DOJ and enforce accountability?

meet the author

Mark Tapscott manages LifeZette's political coverage. He is an elected member of the First Amendment Center's Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame, has testified before Congress on transparency in government, and is a former CPAC Conservative Journalist of the Year. Reach him at [email protected].