Holding Congress Accountable for the Alleged Awan Crimes

Opinion

Holding Congress Accountable for the Alleged Awan Crimes

USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- In 2015, during Speaker Paul Ryan’s first Capitol press briefing as Speaker, he said he wanted a House of Representatives that was “more open, more inclusive, more deliberative, more participatory,” in his remarks.

Three years later, after the Democrats won the House on November 6, 2018, Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi said, “Congress will be led with transparency and openness so that the public can see what’s happening and how it affects them … We will have accountability and we will strive for bipartisanship, with fairness on all sides.”

I sent the following letter to Speaker Ryan and Speaker-designate Pelosi today, challenging them to uphold their promise of an open, transparent Congress that is held directly accountable to the American people.


To: Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan

From: Newt Gingrich

CC: Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi

Date: December 21, 2018

Subject: September 2016 Briefings to House Leadership and the House Administration Committee Regarding the IT Allegations Involving Imran Awan and his associates

Dear Mr. Speaker:

As a former Speaker of the House and a concerned private citizen, the allegations surrounding crimes committed by former House IT employees and the potential cover-up of and negligence toward addressing such crimes, is profoundly disturbing.

On November 16, 2018, I sent a letter to House Inspector General Michael Ptasienski requesting the public release of two 2016 briefings given by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to House leadership that outlined the alleged crimes committed by a former House IT employee, Imran Awan, and his associates.

As I noted in my letter, these presentations given on September 20, 2016 and September 30, 2016, “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.”

On December 12, 2018, I received a response from General Counsel Thomas Hungar who denied my request. Mr. Hungar instead argued that my concerns “may have been prompted by the extensive misinformation published about this matter in the media.” Based on his own “extensive exposure to substantial quantities of evidence,” he concluded that he is “confident” that no cover-up occurred and that the conclusions contained in the July 2018 plea agreement are “justifiable and fair”.

However, Mr. Speaker, I encourage you to examine the following facts – which have led me to question the thoroughness of the investigation and the accuracy of the conclusions that have been derived – and release all documents associated with the September 2016 briefings.

The Department of Justice wrote in the July 2018 plea agreement that throughout the investigation, approximately 40 witnesses were interviewed. However, this number appears to be substantially inadequate when you consider that the Awan associates were employed by the House as shared IT employees for 13 years and worked for more than 60 members during this time period. Additionally, the Awan associates were listed on the payrolls of approximately 40 members each year in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Consider the members themselves, House member staff, fellow IT colleagues and peers, and additional business associates; in doing so, it becomes clear that interviewing only 40 witnesses in an investigation of this magnitude and seriousness is nowhere near sufficient.

It has also been reported that key witnesses connected to this investigation were contacted just days or hours before the plea agreement was signed in July, and a witness was prohibited from bringing relevant documents to an interview with the FBI. Evidently, conducting interviews in this way suggests that the FBI investigators wanted to be able to point to an assortment of witnesses that they contacted, when in reality, it raises questions of the legitimacy of these interviews and whether they were truly conducted in good faith.

Further, the alleged activities of the Awan associates during their time in House employment had the capacity to cause significant financial and equipment losses – and pose substantial and continual threats to national security.

In one office, $120,000 of missing equipment was written off of the House inventory after an Awan associate employed by the office failed to produce the items in question. An unofficial transcript of the OIG briefing on September 20, 2016 asserted that the “shared employee stated that the items were never received, shouldn’t have been inventoried, or the staff lost the equipment.” The transcribed statement that follows shows that this claim is logistically impossible, as “equipment could not be on the inventory or have [an] asset tag unless it had arrive[d] in [the] office and [the] EIN had been signed.”

In addition to the alleged equipment theft, according to the unofficial transcription, there were multiple cases of invoice manipulation by the Awan associates. The unofficial transcription states, “as of Sept. 1, 2016 there have been 34 purchases…totaling nearly $38,000 where the cost of the item was manipulated.”

It is equally important to recognize the members of the House to which the Awan associates had access. Members on the Committee of Foreign Affairs paid the Awan associates more than $950,000. The Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence issued payments totaling more than $530,000, and the Committee on the Judiciary paid the associates more than $446,000. More than $221,000 was paid to the Awan associates by the Committee on Ethics, and upwards of $175,000 was paid by the Committee on Homeland Security.

Concerningly, the unofficial transcript of the September 2016 briefings notes the computerized “unauthorized access” of the Awan associates and that the “pattern[s] of login activity suggests steps are being taken to conceal their activity.” The unofficial transcript warns that the associated “risks may be higher since the shared employees [the Awan associates] have not been vetted (e.g. background check).”

The Awan associates’ close ties with Pakistan have also been identified. Namely, these ties include immense amounts of owned property that were not correctly disclosed in House documents. Additionally, in early 2017, a home equity line of credit loan totaling $165,000 was wired in its entirety to two people in Faisalabad, Pakistan. Imran Awan pleaded guilty to receiving this exact loan using illegal means.

The unofficial transcript of the briefings lastly notes that there was “[p]ossible storage of sensitive House information outside the House,” using the file sharing site Dropbox, and categorizes such file sharing sites as “a classic method for insiders to exfiltrate data from an organization.” The transcript notes that this had not been confirmed, as at the time “[The OIG had] not been permitted to view content of the files on [the] workstations. However, based on the file names, some of the information is likely sensitive.”

Taken into account the totality of the aforementioned information, I implore you to put aside bias and politics, critically examine the foregoing facts, and remember the duty that the United States Congress has to the American people.

It is imperative that government leaders stand for honesty, accountability, and transparency in their actions.

A 2015 press release from your office recounting your first Capitol press briefing as Speaker noted that you “shared [your] vision for a House of Representatives that is more open, inclusive, and transparent,” in your remarks.

Similarly, Speaker-Designate Nancy Pelosi said after the Democrats won the House on November 6 “Congress will be led with transparency and openness, so that the public can see what’s happening and how it affects them … We will have accountability and we will strive for bipartisanship, with fairness on all sides.”

The secrecy under which the allegations and the subsequent inadequate investigation were kept is a betrayal of the trust of the American people. Americans have a fundamental right to know what happened, who is responsible, what has been done to ensure the fair and transparent administration of justice, and what actions have been taken to prevent the reoccurrence of these alleged crimes in one of our most revered government institutions.

As I wrote in November, “The American people expect better than this. The United States Congress should be better than this.”

Therefore, releasing the requested documents will be a critical step in furthering this collective vision of transparency and openness and will reassure the American people that every government official and member of Congress will be held accountable for his or her actions.

Americans have a right to truthful answers to the questions surrounding these concerning allegations, and they deserve to be able to trust that their elected officials are acting in their best interest.

Sincerely,

Newt Gingrich
Former U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives


Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich

P.S. My new book, Trump's America: The Truth About Our Nation's Great Comeback is out and available for order.

About Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich is well-known as the architect of the “Contract with America” that led the Republican Party to victory in 1994 by capturing the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in forty years. After he was elected Speaker, he disrupted the status quo by moving power out of Washington and back to the American people.

Gingrich Productions is a performance and production company featuring the work of Newt Gingrich and Callista Gingrich. Visit : www.gingrichproductions.com

  • 12 thoughts on “Holding Congress Accountable for the Alleged Awan Crimes

    1. Quote: “Congress will be led with transparency and openness so that the public can see what’s happening and how it affects them … We will have accountability and we will strive for bipartisanship, with fairness on all sides.” Thus spoke Nancy Pelosi. She of the famous, “we have to pass it to find out what’s in it.” She of the recently aired conversation with President Trump where she complained about the television cameras and said they should discuss it in private concerning her desire to not protect American citizens.

    2. OK, so let me get this straight. We are asking an institution to hold itself accountable while at the same time having slush funds to pay off sexual harassment claims, an institution that every year generates millionaires based upon salaries of less than $250,000, an institution where the best subsequent opportunity is to lobby the very institution in which they serve……………………………

      1. ‘Slush Funds’……….it’s amazing how much $$$ is in them. From the Gov on down to every town etc.
        We could all go decades without having to pay taxes. R1

    3. And what can one expect from ‘authorities’ reared on documents like this:
      “In all ages the people of the world, equally with individuals, have accepted words for deeds, for they are content with a show and rarely pause to note, in the public arena, whether promises are followed by performance.”

        1. So you are aware of the source of the quote? Impressive. Then that must mean you have read the book. Unless, just possibly, you ‘heard’ ‘about’ the text from someone else and are only parroting what they told you to say.
          Well, since you have obviously read the text, then what would you say(IYHO, OFC), is the biggest falsehood(quote: “crap” :endquote) in there? Since you have such a strong opinion on the subject, I’m keen to hear what you have to say.
          Other than insults, vilifications, and other such detritus, OFC. Anything you wish to say or comment ABOUT SAID TEXT, is highly welcome. I love debate, but only when its on facts and issues, rather than personal insults. When the focus is on insults, that’s not a debate. That’s a celebrity roast. I haven’t been interested in them since Dean Martin.
          I haven’t even had a TV for a decade now. And seldom watched it for another decade before that. I finally woke up to the fact that if you can’t even remember the last time you turned some gadget on, then you don’t need(or even want) it. It’s so very obvious now. But then? Old habits go down hard.

          1. Oddly enough, my issue wasn’t with the quote, but the source. I agree entirely with the text of the quote. I draw the line at conspiracy and supremacy groups. I’m not sure who you think would tell about it or what to say.
            Given all the noise about “Russian interference” in our politics, I’m always surprised when someone quotes something that originated with the Russian police.
            https://duckduckgo.com/?q=elders+of+Zion+origins&ia=web

            1. If you tend to be on this site, you probably are already well aware of just how inaccurate CNN, MSNBC, and all the other dinosaur media making all that “noise” about Russia tend to be. And the book had nothing to do with any “Russian Police”. The Marsden Edition was the translation from Russian into English, done by one Victor Marsden, British newspaper writer, circa 1915. He got it from the Sergei Nilus edition, who was a Russian monk from a small village, hired by the Czar’s family to translate the original Yiddish text into Russian. The Yiddish document was sold to a Russian Royal in about 1890 in Paris. Well before any Russian secret police ever existed.
              Do you have any evidence that could dispute any of the above?

        2. Well, I’m no white supremacist or wear any tinfoil anywhere. I always have aluminum foil(actually two, both the light and heavy), but I use it for wrapping food, insulating lab equipment, or in chemical reactions requiring aluminum, because it has a lot of surface area. IOW, its intended purposes.
          But I think you misunderstood. I know you read the single quote I provided, since you noted the source that I did not provide. But I also noted that you called it “crap”. Since you weren’t specific about exact WHAT it is in that book that you find so crappy, I would like for you to enlighten me.
          Just exactly what is in the Victor Marsden edition, available here in print:
          https://www.amazon.com/Victor-Marsden-Protocols-Meetings-Explanatory/dp/B008UZ18SU
          or here for free download:
          https://gbenet.com/2017/12/the-protocols-of-zion-full-text/3/
          that you find to be so crappy? And if you cannot find even a single paragraph that you disagree with, then where did you get the idea it was “crap” from?

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