Since Donald Trump took office there has been ubiquitous media coverage of what can most properly be termed crap.
There was the fake story about the bust of Martin Luther King that was supposedly removed from the Oval Office. There was the New York Times’ slanted report claiming contacts of some frequency between the Donald Trump campaign and The Russians! And more recently, there was the pitiful Associated Press piece screaming about the new administration’s plans to use the National Guard to deport illegal aliens. Those are just some highlights of what the president has taken to gleefully term “fake news” as he skewers the Democrat-leaning media.
It’s not so surprising those outlets spend time on contrivances. Without The Russians! and those vaporous Trump abuses calling forth the echoes of Hitler and his brownshirts, airtime and column space might have to be devoted to other stories which would be less useful to the various narratives being concocted in New York and Washington editorial conference rooms.
One such inconvenient story is that of the Awan brothers.
Oh, you don’t know who the Awan brothers are? That’s also not surprising.
Let’s go back three weeks, to a firing.
Three brothers who managed office information technology for members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and other lawmakers were abruptly relieved of their duties on suspicion that they accessed congressional computers without permission.
Brothers Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan were barred from computer networks at the House of Representatives Thursday, The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has learned.
Three members of the intelligence panel and five members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs were among the dozens of members who employed the suspects on a shared basis. The two committees deal with many of the nation’s most sensitive issues and documents, including those related to the war on terrorism.
Also among those whose computer systems may have been compromised is Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida Democrat who was previously the target of a disastrous email hack when she served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 campaign.
The way things work on Capitol Hill is that each member of Congress runs almost like a little mom and pop business, and auxiliary office functions like IT are usually contracted out — but within the public sector. In the case of the Brothers Awan, they were quite popular with House Democrats — perhaps thanks to Wasserman Schultz’s recommendation.
And what an august client list the Awans, who hail from Pakistan, amassed. Some 50 or so, in fact, including…
All three of the Pakistani brothers had been employed by Democrats. The offices that employed them included HPSCI minority members Speier, Carson and Joaquín Castro. Congressman Castro, who also sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, utilized the services of Jamal Moiz Awan. Speier and Carson’s offices utilized Imran Awan.
Abid A. Awan was employed by Lois Frankel and Ted Lieu: members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Also on the committee is Castro. As is Robin Kelly whose office employed Jamal Awan. Lieu also sits on the subcommittees on National Security and Information Technology of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Tammy Duckworth’s office had also employed Abid. Before Duckworth successfully played on the sympathy of voters to become Senator Tammy Duckworth, she had been on the Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces of the Armed Services Committee.
Gwen Graham, who had also been on the Armed Services Committee and on the Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee, had employed Jamal Awan. Jamal was also employed by Cedric Richmond’s office. Richmond sits on the Committee on Homeland Security and on its Terrorism and Cybersecurity subcommittee. He is a ranking member of the latter subcommittee. Also employing Jamal was Mark Takano of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
Imran had worked for the office of John Sarbanes who sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee that oversees, among other things, the nuclear industry. Other members of the Committee employing the brothers included Yvette Clarke, who also sits on the Bipartisan Encryption Working Group, Diana DeGette, Dave Loebsack and Tony Cardenas.
Andre Carson and Jackie Speier were signatories to a letter last year that eight Democrats on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence wrote to the chairman (Tom Price) and ranking Democrat (Wasserman Schultz, who we would surmise solicited the letter) demanding that funding be provided so their staffers might be given access to Top Secret Compartmented Information Security (TS/SCI) Clearance.
Wrap your mind around that within the context that the Awans were fired for having illegally accessed secret congressional data from their clients. And also within the context of this…
Rogue congressional staffers took $100,000 from an Iraqi politician while they had administrator-level access to the House of Representatives’ computer network, according to court documents examined by The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group.
The money was a loan from Dr. Ali al-Attar, an Iraqi political figure, and was funneled through a company with “impossible”-to-decipher financial transactions that the congressional information technology (IT) staffers controlled.
Ali al-Attar has a background which is fabulously interesting. It turns out that he’s a doctor who lost his medical license before deciding to get in on the Iraqi political game and potentially serve as a cutout for some of the world’s worst people. From a fascinating piece in the archives of the American Conservative…
Al-Attar was indicted by the federal government acting on behalf of the IRS in March 2012 for having fraudulently prepared tax returns between 2004 and 2006. The IRS claimed that he and his business partner Fadul systematically diverted payments from the accounts of their several offices into their personal accounts, siphoning off more than $500,000. The government case involved the instances of fraud that were easiest to prove in court, but it was likely just the tip of an iceberg with millions more in additional money being diverted to offshore accounts in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Dr. Ali A. Al-Attar fled the United States after the indictment to avoid arrest and imprisonment. Late in 2012 he was observed in Beirut, Lebanon conversing with a Hezbollah official. It turns out that al-Attar is only a first generation Iraqi. He was born in Baghdad, but his parents were both from Iran.
Now, we don’t need to ask any of the obvious questions here — like for example whether Wasserman Schultz gave the Awans an IT contract on the side for the Democratic National Committee, or whether any of the Democrats employing them were read into Middle East military actions, like for example the ill-fated raid in Yemen in which Navy SEAL Ryan Owens was killed.
It seems self-evident how much potential destruction these people may have caused if they happened to be stealing our national secrets and selling them to various buyers in the Muslim world.
One might well look at the set of circumstances laid out above and see in it a scandal that would make Watergate look like a petty break-in. One might then scratch his or her head and wonder — why on earth would the New York Times or the Washington Post, which incidentally just hired John Podesta (speaking of horrendous cybersecurity!) as a columnist, have virtually no interest in the Awans at all?
Do Carlos Slim and Jeff Bezos, one might ask, really believe they can’t sell papers with such a story to tell?
And then one might conclude Trump is well within his rights to treat these people as enemy propagandists, because to have buried such a profoundly disturbing story sure looks like a mockery of the public’s trust.