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More Troubling Details Emerge in House IT Scandal

by Wes Messamore, published

More astounding details emerged this week in the House IT scandal around Imran Awan, the ex-Wasserman Schultz IT staffer under investigation for procurement fraud and data breaches of sensitive congressional information on the House IT network.

Court records and emails obtained by The Daily Caller show that after being banned from the House network by Capitol Police in February, while under investigation for cybersecurity violations, Awan maintained an active, secret email account on the U.S. House computer network.

Though his primary House email account has been suspended since February 2, the secret email address, [email protected], was still active and receiving emails as of this week.

Emails sent via Gmail autofill the name of the email account holder as Nathan Bennett, the deputy chief of staff who specializes in intelligence and homeland security for Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.).

The revelation is especially disconcerting given Rep. Carson's role as the ranking member of the House intelligence subcommittee on emerging threats, which oversees the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Counterterrorism Center, and sensitive information-sharing programs.

Carson was one of the 31 Democratic representatives with a member of the Awan family on its payroll, netting the family over $4 million since 2009 for mostly no-work, "ghosts" positions, with access to the information in each member's congressional email accounts.

Though most of the 13 House Democrats who employed Imran Awan fired him immediately after news of the investigation went public in February, only two representatives waited longer than Carson to fire him: Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), whose office has a close relationship with Awan and only fired him after he was arrested by the FBI on July 26.

In an email, Nathan Bennett denied any involvement with the email address in question:

"However this happened, it was not with my consent or control. For the record, I do not, nor have I ever, had control of the [email protected] email account or any other account connected with Imran Awan or his family."

Several media sources are reporting that Awan is being represented in court by Chris Gowen, a long-time associate of former President Bill Clinton. Gowen has told the press that Awan is only guilty of "working while Muslim."

This claim, echoed by Wasserman Schultz, has raised the ire of the U.S. Marine (and Democrat) that turned Awan into the FBI after he discovered damaged hard drives in a house he was renting from Awan in July, prompting the Marine to speak out to the Daily Caller about the House IT scandal:

"I just want to get these locked up and exposed and now. The people who facilitated them should also be locked up, as far as I’m concerned...

I’m absolutely disgusted with everything going on in the country right now, mostly because of right-wing conservatives, but with respect to this situation, political affiliation is irrelevant...

Him, his wife, his brother, all working down there — there’s no way they could do this without help. If we can drag Trump and his wingnuts through the mud for the Russia influence that they are having, then it’s only fair that we also expose this s–t."

While Gowen and Wasserman Schultz spin the multiple investigations for a staggering number of different crimes as a racially-motivated witch hunt, a senior U.S. official familiar with the investigation told the New York Post:

"This is a massive, massive scandal," raising concerns that "sensitive US government data — possibly including classified information — could have been compromised and may have been sold to hostile foreign governments that could use it to blackmail members of Congress..."

As the House IT scandal continues to grow with one startling revelation after another, concerned voters will begin to wonder: at what point will the preponderance of troubling facts in this case warrant a subpoena from the Chair of the House Oversight Committee (a fierce critic of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server) for Debbie Wasserman Schultz to testify in open session about Imran Awan's activities?

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