(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department for all records of communications relating to the investigation into former Democratic information technology (IT) staffers Abid Awan, Imran Awan, Jamal Awan and Hina R. Alvi (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-02563)).
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 Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s top information technology aide. Most lawmakers fired Awan in February, but Wasserman Schultz kept him on until he was arrested in July, trying to board a flight for Pakistan.
Imran Awan was allowed a plea deal. He pleaded guilty to federal bank fraud but prosecutors found no evidence that Awan “violated federal law with respect to the House computer systems.”
The Judicial Watch lawsuit was filed after the FBI failed to respond adequately to two FOIA requests.
The FBI claimed it could neither confirm nor deny records related to the first request, filed on May 26, 2017, seeking:
The timeframe for the requested records is May 2015 to the present.
Further, the FBI claimed that records related to a July 3, 2018, FOIA request were located in an investigative file and exempt from disclosure. That request sought:
“It’s time for the full truth to come out about the House Democrat IT scandal, especially with impending change of power in the House,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “There is hope that the new leadership at the DOJ will bring transparency to this case, as well as many pending FOIA investigations.”
On October 11, 2017, Judicial Watch President, Tom Fitton participated in a discussion between House members and experts regarding the Wasserman Schultz/Awan Brothers/IT scandal. During this discussion, Fitton stated:
“Frankly when it comes to crimes with a political component, I fear the Justice Department is going to fear to tread. And because of the political nature of what went on (with the Awan family) they’re not going to push the House … and I fear that the Justice Department will be fearful of raising these issues with the House for fear of embarrassing the leadership of both parties … and that’s something we need to push the Justice Department on. That they don’t under-charge or under-investigate this for fear of the consequences that will happen if they push further and find something that no one wants to find, which is a national security threat at our breast here in the House.”
On June 7, 2018, President Donald Trump tweeted, “Our Justice Department must not let Awan & Debbie Wasserman Schultz off the hook. The Democrat I.T. scandal is a key to much of the corruption we see today. They want to make a “plea deal” to hide what is on their Server. Where is Server? Really bad!”
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