Yesterday, we wrote about new developments in an exceptionally strange case involving a circle of former IT staffers for House Democrats who are caught up in a federal criminal investigation. We noted that the New York Post's sources say that the FBI is now looking into whether the Awan cabal may have sold off sensitive data collected from the House servers they maintained to foreign intelligence services in Islamabad, Moscow, and potentially elsewhere. Former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy, whose summary of bizarre imbroglio mess we linked, knows a thing or two about how federal indictments work. He's the man who successfully prosecuted the mastermind of the first World Trade Center bombing (who recently died in prison). McCarthy managed to track down the indictment in this case, which he says only raises more questions. He leads with a not-so-hypothetical scenario, drawing on his vast experience as a prosecutor:
Let’s say you’re a prosecutor in Washington. You are investigating a husband and wife, naturalized Americans, who you believe have scammed a federal credit union out of nearly $300,000. You catch them in several false statements about their qualifications for a credit line and their intended use of the money. The strongest part of your case, though, involves the schemers’ transferring the loot to their native Pakistan. So . . . what’s the best evidence you could possibly have, the slam-dunk proof that their goal was to steal the money and never look back? That’s easy: One after the other, the wife and husband pulled up stakes and tried to high-tail it to Pakistan after they’d wired the funds there — the wife successfully fleeing, the husband nabbed as he was about to board his flight. Well, here’s a peculiar thing about the Justice Department’s indictment of Imran Awan and Hina Alvi, the alleged fraudster couple who doubled as IT wizzes for Debbie Wasserman Schultz and many other congressional Democrats: There’s not a word in it about flight to Pakistan. The indictment undertakes to describe in detail four counts of bank-fraud conspiracy, false statements on credit applications, and unlawful monetary transactions, yet leaves out the most damning evidence of guilt...In fact, the indictment appears to go out of its way not to mention it.
Why? Good question. Here's another: Why on earth did Awan and his wife remain on Debbie Wasserman Schultz's payroll for months after they were fired by other Democrats? They were understandably dismissed by most lawmakers once it was revealed that they were the subjects of a federal probe into criminal fraud, having allegedly swindled taxpayers out of hundreds of thousands of dollars through a bogus procurement scheme. DWS offered up the lame and pathetic excuse that she stuck with the Pakistani-Americans because she feared they were victims of racial or religious discrimination. In doing so, she apparently had no compunction about sliming investigators and her Congressional colleagues as bigots. It all seems...odd, as do many elements of this case. In my post, I wondered if there was a "blackmail component at play." McCarthy is thinking the same thing:
Awan was kept on the payroll for about six more months by Wasserman Schultz, a Florida Democrat, former Democratic National Committee chairwoman, and Clinton insider. She finally fired him only after he was arrested at the airport right before a scheduled flight to Qatar, from whence he planned to join Alvi in Pakistan. There are grounds to suspect blackmail, given (a) the staggering sums of money paid to the Awans over the years, (b) the sensitive congressional communications to which they had access, (c) the alleged involvement of Imran Awan and one of his brothers in a blackmail-extortion scheme against their stepmother, and (d) Wasserman Schultz’s months of protecting Awan and potentially impeding the investigation.
Here's the "blackmail-extortion" angle he references in point (c). After running through a long list of inquiries about highly unusual decisions by authorities and prosecutors over the course of this case -- including letting Awan's wife fly to Pakistan even after she was stopped at the airport with tens of thousands of dollars on her person (a crime) while she was under investigation -- McCarthy enumerates the various sources of his expanding confusion. He says that the indictment, as it's drawn up, makes little sense, intentionally leaving out major pieces of evidence:
The indictment is an exercise in omission. No mention of the Awan group’s theft of information from Congress. Not a hint about the astronomical sums the family was paid, much of it for no-show “work.” Not a word about Wasserman Schultz’s keeping Awan on the payroll for six months during which (a) he was known to be under investigation, (b) his wife was known to have fled to Pakistan, and (c) he was not credentialed to do the IT work for which he had been hired. Nothing about Wasserman Schultz’s energetic efforts to prevent investigators from examining Awan’s laptop. A likely currency-transportation offense against Alvi goes uncharged. And, as for the offenses that are charged, prosecutors plead them in a manner that avoids any reference to what should be their best evidence. There is something very strange going on here.
It sure seems that way. Curiouser and curiouser. I'll leave you with this little nugget about Awan's attorney, who worked for both Clintons:
Meanwhile, Wasserman Schultz insists that she's done nothing wrong, agains raised the issue of "ethnic profiling," and couched her judgments about keeping Awan employed during the investigation as a matter of facilitating "due process."