Remember Imran Awan, the DNC-employed technology aide who worked closely with Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) until it was discovered he and family members also working on the Hill were stealing tech equipment by falsifying work orders while simultaneously funneling members’ emails improperly onto a an unauthorized server?
If you don’t, it’s not surprising. His story — which ultimately involved stashing a laptop that may have belonged to Wasserman-Schultz in an old telephone closet in a building on Capitol Hill — has all but disappeared from the news cycle following his arrest at a Washington-area airport while he was was trying to leave the country.
Thankfully, Judicial Watch has stayed on his trail — a trail developed by the fantastic reporting of Luke Rosiak at The Daily Caller News Foundation — and have been filing FOIA requests related to his activities. They hit a snag at the beginning of the year when DOJ submitted sealed information — because they said it related to a pending case — to the court in response to a FOIA request, and failed to provide any other information to Judicial Watch about why they couldn’t turn over documents dealing with Awan.
The judge in the case is dissatisfied and called a highly unusual “snap” hearing Wednesday demanding answers from DOJ.
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Amit Mehta’s unusual order followed a sealed submission by DOJ attorneys Jan. 10 in the case prompted by the nonprofit government watchdog’s November 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.
Such hastily convened hearings are extremely unusual in a federal judicial system so jammed that months can pass before cases are litigated in courtrooms.
“In a hearing last month, U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta expressed frustration and ordered the Justice Department to explain its failure to produce records by January 10 and to provide Judicial Watch some details about the delay,” Judicial Watch said in a statement Jan. 14 about the snap hearing.
“Instead, the Justice Department made its filing under seal and has yet to provide Judicial Watch with any details about its failure to produce records as promised to the court,” Judicial Watch said.
Awan and his family had been technology aides to more than 40 Democratic Congressional members, some of whom sat on foreign policy and national security committees. Their positions allowed them access to all digital communications of those members. After Awan, a Pakistani native, was arrested trying to leave the country, he was charged with bank fraud. He cut a deal and served three months supervised release with no prison time.
But Judicial Watch, like Judge Mehta, is dissatisfied.
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said in a statement that “the DOJ’s handling of the Awan brothers case has long been an issue of concern and now we are expected to believe some secret investigation prevents the public from knowing the full truth about this scandal. We are skeptical.”