Judicial Watch announced today that a federal court ordered a hearing for Friday, December 13, 2019, on the Congressional Democrat IT (information technology) scandal involving the Awan brothers.
The hearing was ordered in accordance with a November 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, which was filed after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) failed to respond adequately to two separate FOIA requests (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-02563)).
Judicial Watch’s first request, filed on May 26, 2017, sought:
- All records related to any investigations or preliminary investigations involving former congressional IT support staffers Abid Awan, Imran Awan, Jamal Awan, and Hina R. Alvi. As part of this request, searches should of records [sic] should include, but not be limited to, the FBI automated indices, its older manual indices, and its Electronic Surveillance (ELSUR) Data Management System (EDMS), as well as cross-referenced files.
- All records of communication sent to or from FBI employees, officials or contractors involving the subjects in bullet item 1.
The timeframe for the requested records is May 2015 to the present.
Judicial Watch’s second request, submitted on July 3, 2018, sought:
- All records related to any investigations or preliminary investigations involving former congressional IT support staffers Abid Awan, Imran Awan, Jamal Awan, Hina R. Alvi and Rao Abbas. As part of this request, searches of records should include, but not be limited to, the FBI automated indices, its older manual indices, and its Electronic Surveillance (ELSUR) Data Management System (EDMS), as well as cross-referenced files.
- All records of communications, including but not limited to emails (whether on .gov or non-.gov email accounts), text messages, instant chats or messages on the Lync system, sent to or from FBI employees, officials or contractors involving the Awan brothers, Ms. Alvi and Mr. Abbas. Records of communications searched should include but not be limited to those between FBI officials, employees and contractors and officials with the Capitol Police, the Office of the Inspector General of the House, and the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer of the House.
In August 2019, the DOJ told the court that it would begin producing records by November 5, 2019. After producing no records, on November 13, 2019 the agency told Judicial Watch that it was having “technical difficulties,” and in a recent email claimed that “difficulties with the production remain.”
In a joint status report filed on December 5, 2019, Judicial Watch reported to the court that the DOJ claimed in a phone call that it was now unable to produce any records to either of the FOIA requests “because the agency was waiting for some unspecified action by Judge [Tanya S.] Chutkan in some other matter so as to avoid having to produce records in this case.” In that same report the DOJ told the court that Judge Chutkan is “presiding over a related sealed criminal matter” that prohibits the government from releasing the requested FOIA information. [Emphasis added]
Imran Awan and his family were banned from the House computer network in February 2017 after the House’s top law enforcement officer wrote that Imran is “an ongoing and serious risk to the House of Representatives, possibly threatening the integrity of our information systems,” and that a server containing evidence had gone “missing.” The inspector general said server logs showed “unauthorized access” and procurement records were falsified.
Imran Awan was Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s (D-FL) top information technology aide. Most lawmakers fired Awan in February, but Wasserman Schultz kept him on until he was arrested in July 2017, trying to board a flight for Pakistan.
In July 2018, Imran Awan was given a plea deal, and pled guilty to federal bank fraud but prosecutors found no evidence that Awan “violated federal law with respect to the House computer systems.”
The Awan brothers reportedly “were not given background checks before being given access to highly sensitive government information and no explanations have been given as to why.” Additionally, “If they would have run this background check it would have found out not only multiple criminal convictions, but $1 million bankruptcy, a dozen lawsuits … it would have found a whole host of major red flags and the Democrats didn’t do any of those checks.”
“The Awan Brothers IT scandal implicates national security and involves a coverup by House Democrat leadership and, now, the Deep State DOJ,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
The hearing is before U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta.
Date: Friday, December 13, 2019
Time: 9:30 a.m. ET
Location: Courtroom 10
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
333 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
Original story here.