Newt Gingrich is right about the Democrats’ IT scandal -- the cover up must end

The shocking cover-up of the Democrats’ IT scandal in the U.S. House of Representatives just received a much-needed kick in the shin.

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, sent a letter to House Inspector General (IG) Michael Ptasienski asking that two reports made by the House IG in 2016 detailing much of what former House IT aide Imran Awan and his associates were up to in congressional offices be made public.

Imran Awan and his crew of House IT administrators were employed by more than 40 members of Congress, all Democrats. Awan worked for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and others, but was tossed off the House network after he provided false information to Capitol Police. He was arrested as he tried to fly away to Pakistan and has since pled guilty to bank fraud charges in a sweetheart plea deal from the Department of Justice that became a key part of a massive cover-up.

“As a former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and a concerned private citizen, I am alarmed by the appearance of a cover-up of serious crimes committed by a former House employee and his associates, as well as, potentially, members of the House of Representatives themselves,” wrote Gingrich.

As I wrote in my book “Spies in Congress – Inside the Democrats’ Covered-Up Cyber Scandal,” a source in the House showed me these reports. They detail crimes we’d have a hard time believing someone could get away with in a cheap spy movie.

Parts of these reports were read into the record publicly in an informal fact-finding hearing on this case by five Republican members of Congress, almost all members of the Freedom Caucus, in October 2017.

Gingrich says he waited until after the midterm election to send this letter “so it clearly would not be seen as a political act.”

He then characteristically doesn’t pull any punches.

“The presentations provide critical information pertaining to the possible invoice manipulation, equipment theft, illicit cyber activities, irregular cyber-related login and usage patterns, and outside storage of House data by Imran Awan and his associates,” says the letter.

“The plea agreement for Mr. Awan,” says Gingrich, “court appearances, and reported conversations with witnesses connected to the FBI’s investigation of Awan and his associates’ activities suggests that the FBI (while working with the United States Capitol Police) and the Department of Justice have avoided conducting a thorough and meticulous investigation.”

My reporting for “Spies in Congress” found this assertion by Gingrich to be shockingly true. Many witnesses in the House and even those who rented properties from Imran Awan, and who subsequently found phones and computers that were obviously stolen from Congress in the rental properties, told me they had yet to be contacted by the FBI or other authorities to tell what they know.

It is time Republican leadership wakes up and shows the public this information. If they don’t use this lame-duck session to do so, it is unlikely that Democrats will be so transparent when they take control of Congress in January.

“[I]n the July 2018 plea agreement,” writes Gingrich, “the DOJ stated that approximately 40 witnesses were interviewed throughout the duration of the investigation. Upon further examination, this number seems substantially inadequate for an investigation potentially involving so many individuals.”

If investigators had simply interviewed all the members of Congress who Imran Awan and his crew worked for they would have had to speak with more than 40 people.

As $120,000 in missing equipment is known to have been illegally written-off in just one member’s office Imran Awan was involved with (Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y.), investigators would have also clearly had to speak with a lot of congressional staffers to do a proper investigation.

Gingrich notes that the office that wrote off this $120,000 is a member of the Committee on Ethics. An ethics investigation into Rep. Wasserman Schultz and other Democrats never took place, even though these members of Congress paid these IT aides chief of staff-level pay and, in the case of Wasserman Schultz, even kept paying Imran Awan after he and the others were tossed off the House network.

Gingrich also says that in one case “a witness was asked to be interviewed by the FBI but was prohibited from bringing any documents.”

The Pakistan connection is also touched on in Gingrich’s letter. “Close ties between Pakistan and the Awan associates were also identified, including large amounts of property that were owned but not properly disclosed in House Documents,” writes Gingrich.

That’s actually only the beginning of the ties Imran Awan had with his home country of Pakistan, as this sordid tale is actually an international crime thriller of a story.

“The sheer scale and size of the alleged criminal activity, the potential damage it could have caused, and the continual threats it potentially poses for the United States, raises significant questions that every American deserves to have answered,” says Gingrich.

That is clearly true. The emails to and from members of Congress that Imran Awan had access to – and that he allegedly copied – would have been enough to bribe them or harm them politically. Not to mention being able to see how they would vote on spending and other bills, and so much more. In other words, these massive security breaches can, and may already have, impacted all of us as Congress debates, writes and passes legislation.

“If you choose to deny this request, I will appeal to the House membership to pass a resolution that will make public the two documents,” says Gingrich.

It is time Republican leadership wakes up and shows the public this information. If they don’t use this lame-duck session to do so, it is unlikely that Democrats will be so transparent when they take control of Congress in January.