Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz seemingly planned 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. Monday. Public statements and congressional payroll records suggest she also appears to have known that his wife, a fellow IT staffer, left the country for good months ago — while she was also a criminal suspect.
In all, six months of actions reveal a decision to continue paying a man who seemingly could not have been providing services to her, and who a mountain of evidence suggests was a liability. The man long had access to all of Wasserman Schultz’s computer files, work emails and personal emails, and he was recently accused by a relative in court documents of wiretapping and extortion.
Records also raise questions about whether the Florida Democrat permitted Awan to continue to access computers after House-wide authorities banned him from the network Feb. 2. Not only did she keep him on staff after the ban, but she also did not have any other IT person to perform necessary work that presumably would have arisen during a months-long period, according to payroll records.
Wasserman Schultz employed Pakistani-born Awan and his wife Hina Alvi, and refused to fire either of them even after U.S. Capitol Police said in February 2017 that they were targets of the criminal investigation. She said police wouldn’t show her evidence against the couple and, without it, she assumed they might be victims of anti-Muslim profiling.
Awan booked a round-trip ticket to Pakistan in July and planned to depart Monday, July 24 with a return ticket in six months. He was arrested at Dulles Airport during his attempt to leave.
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