Imran Awan, the Pakistan-born IT vendor to several top House Democrats under investigation since February, was arrested allegedly trying to flee the United States Tuesday.
Some of the most important facts about this developing and potentially massive story:
1. Awan has been a staffer for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and other top congressional Democrats since 2004:
UPI reports more than 24 different Democratic House offices used Awan’s services. Awan’s time with Wasserman Schultz included her entire tenure as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. Estimates are that Awan and his family received more than $4 million from House Democrats since 2009.
2. Awan was still employed by Wasserman Schultz’s office until he was arrested Tuesday night:
According to Fox News reporter Chad Pergram, the former DNC head’s office only terminated him after authorities moved in for the arrest as Awan tried to make his way out of the country via Dulles International Airport despite his being publicly under investigation for what appear to be embezzlement and fraud allegations:
Fox is told that Hse IT staffer Imran Awan is still on Hse payroll for moment under Wasserman Schultz.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) July 25, 2017
3. Wasserman Schultz has “inexplicably protected” Awan for months:
The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Luke Rosiak, who has been spearheading this story since February, reported in May about Wasserman Schultz’s appearing to threaten Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa with “consequences” if he did not return a laptop Awan owned that his officers had seized. Rosiak described the move as inexplicable. Other House Democrats had started dumping Awan around the same time, but Wasserman Schultz stuck with him, despite his reported banning from the House IT network over the investigation.
4. Despite declaring bankruptcy in 2012, Awan wired $283,000 ahead to two people in Faisalabad, Pakistan, before making his break:
According to court charging documents reported in Politico, Awan fraudulently obtained $165,000 as a home equity loan from the Congressional Federal Credit Union before making the wire transfer.
5. Awan’s own family is at loggerheads with him:
Awan brought his brothers and wife with him into the congressional IT business. The family business, however, may not have been a happy one. The brothers’ stepmother is reportedly suing Awan for wiretapping and threats to have her family arrested in Pakistan. Awan’s own father, who is suspected of being caught up in his son’s fraudulent financial dealings, appears to have changed his name to avoid being associated with him.
6. Awan threatened a veteran family to get back the smashed hard drives and other computer equipment now at the center of the investigation:
Awan and his family rented their Lorton, Virginia, home to a married couple. The Marine veteran husband told the Daily Caller he found “wireless routers, hard drives that look like they tried to destroy, laptops, [and] a lot of brand new expensive toner” in the garage.
“They recycled cabinets and lined them along the walls. They left in a huge hurry,” he continued. “It looks like government-issued equipment. We turned that stuff over.”
Imran Awan and his family then reportedly began trying to terrorize the Marine veteran and his Navy officer wife into returning the equipment, calling them repeatedly, arriving at the home three or four times, and threatening to sue if the equipment was not returned. Instead, the family turned the material over to the FBI.
7. In 2014, CNN published an op-ed by Awan about the perils of “Islamophobia.”
In “Opinion: ‘The Muslims Are coming!’ Why Islamophobia Is So Dangerous,” Awan openly mocked Western news outlets that publish stories on issues that are “used by the far-right into vitriolic hate against Muslims.” His examples of “Islamophobic” stories that should cause no worry include “Muhammad” becoming the most popular name in England and projections that Muslims may soon outnumber Christians in the land of St. Augustine of Canterbury.
CNN was all too happy to publish Awan’s dressing down of “threatening comments that are both extremely inflammatory and promote Islamophobia.”
Curiously, Awan’s defense attorney in his present case appears to have opted for the same rhetorical strategy. “This is clearly a right-wing media-driven prosecution by a United States Attorney’s Office that wants to prosecute people for working while Muslim,” Chris Gowen, Awan’s attorney, told Politico.