Alvi Awan was suspected of helping swindle $283,000 from banks and was busted carrying over $12,400 in undocumented cash when the FBI caught up with her at Dulles International Airport in March.
But incredibly Awan — the wife of Imran Awan, the IT specialist and con man employed by Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was arrested last week for bank fraud — was never detained or forced to stay in the United States. Her arrest in fact was blocked by then-FBI Director James Comey and then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, FBI sources said.
So federal agents and Capitol Police watched as the former Democratic congressional aide and suspected bank fraudster stepped onto Qatar Air1ines Flight 708 to Doha, Qatar, on her way to Lahore, Pakistan with her three daughters, bulging luggage and $12,400 in undocumented cash — a federal crime in itself. Awan had essentially been given a license to disappear from the clutches of US law enforcement, never likely to return to the United States. She was in the wind, courtesy of the FBI.
“This was a call from the top, Comey and McCabe,” a well-placed FBI agent said. “Anyone else would have been held and with that cash she didn’t declare she could have been locked up. The agents at Dulles wanted to hold her but they were told to stand down.”
Comey has since been fired and McCabe currently is Acting FBI Director until the new FBI director is sworn in.
The lead FBI case agent at Dulles was Brandon Merriman who has been on the job for a little more than a year and was investigating Imran and Alvi Awan’s bank schemes. FBI sources said he did not have the political juice to plead for Awan’s arrest and as an agent, there is little he could have done to keep Awan in the states since his bosses decided to put her in the wind. Merriman also put together the arrest warrant for Imran Awan in July. A portion of that warrant is included below where the FBI agent acknowledged he knew that when Alvi Awan stepped onto that flight she would never return to the United States.
So why then did the FBI put her in the wind?
If the FBI wanted to explore and build a criminal case against Wasserman Schultz, the former DNC chairwoman and Clinton consigliere, and even firm up the case against Imran Awan, holding leverage over Alvi and Imran Awan would make more than good sense. So the release of Alvi back to Pakistan — essentially a US law enforcement no-go zone — speaks volumes about the FBI brass wanting to protect Wasserman Schultz and essentially her long-time mentor Hillary Clinton.
“When you have a guy’s wife locked up and you’re looking at the husband, you have leverage to get him to cooperate,” a FBI insider said. “This is really great leverage and it wasn’t even put into play.”
If this was simply a bank fraud case, Alvi Awan would still be in the United States and her husband would have been locked up long before July. FBI sources said they had sufficient evidence of bank fraud in December 2016 yet no arrest warrants were filed until July. There is little doubt the Awans were being protected by FBI bosses, federal law enforcement sources said.
For instance, it is a felony to export more than $10,000 from the United States absent filing a currency transportation report. FBI sources said Alvi Awan did not file the report. Yet she was allowed to leave the country anyway. And with the cash and the FBI’s explicit knowledge she defrauded at least two financial institutions.
As a sidebar, Alvi Awan would also have served as a key witness in the emerging case building against Wasserman Schultz, the DNC, and what role Hillary Clinton played into the emerging labyrinth of Awan-related security breaches.
BELOW: FBI Agent Brandon Merriman admits in an arrest warrant filed for her husband in July that when the Bureau allowed Alvi Awan to walk away, they would never see her again in the United States.