For some months scandal has been swirling about Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her bizarre and inexplicable conduct concerning the activities of “IT staff” hired by a cabal of House Democrats. Her covering for these people extended to openly threatening the Capitol Police because they were investigating the theft of House computers. Despite being banned from having access to House IT equipment and being under investigation for stealing computer equipment, the ringleader, Imran Awan, was only fired last week when he was arrested while trying to flee the country after having wired $283,000 to Pakistan. (Look at the links at the bottom of this page for comprehensive coverage of the scandal.)
Now, in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Wasserman Schultz has broken her silence. These are the highlights:
What’s the big deal?
Wasserman Schultz said there still hasn’t been any evidence presented that he’s done anything wrong involving his work for Congress.
Awan is a victim.
And, she said, she believes he may have been put under scrutiny because of his religious faith. Awan is Muslim.
She was concerned about his rights. And did I mention Awan is a victim?
“I had grave concerns about his due process rights being violated,” she said. “When their investigation was reviewed with me, I was presented with no evidence of anything that they were being investigated for. And so that, in me, gave me great concern that his due process rights were being violated. That there were racial and ethnic profiling concerns that I had,” she said.
There is nothing to see here.
Wasserman Schultz said Awan didn’t have access to any classified information. She and other members of Congress aren’t allowed to store classified information in their offices and on their computers.
No, really, there is nothing to see. And everybody does it.
Instead, Wasserman Schultz said, it involved “transferring data outside the secure network, which I think amounted to use of apps that the House didn’t find compliant with our security requirements.”
An example, she said, is the storage service Dropbox, which allows people to store documents and other images and share them with others. Wasserman Schultz said she believes other IT employees engage in the same kind of data movement as Awan but aren’t being investigated.
Did I mention that Awan is totally innocent and he’s a victim?
“The right-wing media circus fringe has immediately focused not on this run-of-the-mill investigation just reporting the facts, but jumped to outrageous, egregious conclusions that they were trying to, that they have ties to terrorists and that they were stealing data,” she said.
She cited suggestions he was attempting to flee the country and emphasis on his ultimate destination — Pakistan — before his arrest on the bank fraud charge. The country is widely known as a battleground for Islamic terrorists.
She said it’s absurd to conclude he was trying to flee the country. He filed a form to take an unpaid leave of absence and talked to Wasserman Schultz’s staff chief, Tracie Pough, about his departure and return dates.
“He is from Pakistan. … He’s an American, a naturalized American citizen. His children are natural born citizens. His wife is a naturalized American citizen. And I mean when you’re trying to flee, you don’t fill out a form with your employer and go on unpaid leave,” she said.
Oh, and has anyone ever mentioned how courageous and noble I am?
“I believe that I did the right thing, and I would do it again,” Wasserman Schultz said Thursday in an exclusive interview with the Sun Sentinel. “There are times when you can’t be afraid to stand alone, and you have to stand up for what’s right.”
In the immortal words of Ron White: I had the right to remain silent, I just did not have the ability.