MIAMI HERALD: Wasserman Schultz kept paying tech expert suspected of stealing House computers.
When a computer expert who worked for congressional Democrats was accused of stealing computers and data systems in February, members of Congress cut him loose within days, leaving Imran Awan with no supporters five months later.
Except for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
The Weston Democrat has not explained in detail why she continued to employ Awan until Tuesday when she fired him — after he was arrested on bank-fraud charges at Dulles International Airport in Virginia attempting to board a flight to Pakistan.
And she has not elaborated on what work Awan did for her after he lost access to the House computer network.
She declined to answer questions about Awan in Washington on Wednesday, and her spokesman, David Damron, accompanied her to the House floor while instructing a reporter that Wasserman Schultz would not take questions about her former employee.
Background: Wasserman Schultz aide arrested trying to leave the country. “A senior House Democratic aide confirmed Awan was still employed by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) as of Tuesday morning. But David Damron, a spokesman for Wasserman Schultz, later said that Awan was fired on Tuesday.” Why was he still on the payroll?
Related: Debbie Wasserman Schultz Tries to Distance from Staffer Who Took $100k from Iraqi Politician.
Flashback: House IT Aides Fear Suspects In Hill Breach Are Blackmailing Members With Their Own Data.
Congressional technology aides are baffled that data-theft allegations against four former House IT workers — who were banned from the congressional network — have largely been ignored, and they fear the integrity of sensitive high-level information.
Imran Awan and three relatives were colleagues until police banned them from computer networks at the House of Representatives after suspicion the brothers accessed congressional computers without permission.
Five Capitol Hill technology aides told The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group that members of Congress have displayed an inexplicable and intense loyalty towards the suspects who police say victimized them. The baffled aides wonder if the suspects are blackmailing representatives based on the contents of their emails and files, to which they had full access.
“I don’t know what they have, but they have something on someone. It’s been months at this point” with no arrests, said Pat Sowers, who has managed IT for several House offices for 12 years. “Something is rotten in Denmark.”
A manager at a tech-services company that works with Democratic House offices said he approached congressional offices, offering their services at one-fourth the price of Awan and his Pakistani brothers, but the members declined. At the time, he couldn’t understand why his offers were rejected but now he suspects the Awans exerted some type of leverage over members.
“There’s no question about it: If I was accused of a tenth of what these guys are accused of, they’d take me out in handcuffs that same day, and I’d never work again,” he said.
Another flashback: Wasserman Schultz Threatened Capitol Police Chief For Gathering Evidence On Her IT Staffer’s Alleged Crimes.