There is infighting among editorial hierarchy at The Washington Post about it’s only “in-depth” story about the expanding Imran Awan and Hina Alvi investigation, according to sources.
The story was apparently put together with the cooperation of Awan’s lawyer Chris Gowen and sweeping legal team. No FBI sources are quoted in a story dealing with a federal investigation. And more than one news veteran at the Post agreed the end result was a “puff piece” that stinks like a cheap press release written by a first-year Congressional flak.
“I don’t care if the guy is guilty or not,” said one Post editor. “But let’s tell the story, the entire story based on what the public already knows. We didn’t do that. I think we tried to create another story.
“It’s a goddam embarrassment.”
Oh, we forgot to mention Awan’s attorney is a long-time campaigner for former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Let’s start with the basics.
Awan and Alvi, husband and wife, were indicted on bank fraud and financial crimes on August 17, but federal agents believe this case is much larger than mortgage-related crimes. There is growing evidence, for instance the Awans could have sold classified information to foreign governments outside the United States. Then there is growing talk that the Awans may have blackmailed Congress with damaging emails and photos. FBI sources also believe someone in Congress tipped the Awans off months before their grand jury indictment.
Awan and Alvi were charged in a four-count indictment charging the couple for defrauding the Congressional Federal Credit Union, making false statements and illegal money transfers to Pakistan. The Awans, along with two brothers, worked for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and dozens of other Democratic members of Congress, performing IT work.
The Washington Post didn’t even get that part right and these are simply the basic background facts of the case.
The Post goes out of its way, however, to stress the case does not involves espionage. No matter what, espionage is not at play here, the Post repeatedly stresses.
No mention that the espionage portion of the case is far more complicated than simply saying no evidence exists.
If there is no evidence of espionage, a huge leap the Post makes with seamless efforts even though no FBI sources are in play, then the case must just be a grab bag of conspiracy theories fueled by right-wing kooks, according to the newspaper’s wisdom:
It has attracted unfounded conspiracy theories and intrigue. Far-right news organizations seized on it as a potential coverup of an espionage ring that plundered national secrets and might have been responsible for the campaign hacking of the Democratic National Committee, a breach that intelligence agencies have linked to Russia. President Trump has fanned its embers from his Twitter account, reposting an article that claimed the mainstream media were ignoring a scandal “engulfing” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida Democrat who was slow to fire Imran Awan after news of the investigation broke.
Sure. Blame the Awans’ illicit behavior on conservatives and of course, President Trump. The old mainstream media fallback used to try and weasel its benefactors out of tight corners. Works well until it’s retorted with facts.
Keep in mind here the Post, the alleged flagship paper covering the nations politics, has written perhaps three stories on the Awan investigation. And this story was written by a reporter who arrived a year ago from North Jersey. That should tell you how seriously the newspaper is taking getting to the bottom of this scandal. To be fair, the reporter is a talented gentleman no doubt, but even the Post’s editors who leaked a few gems wonder why the story was not assigned to a seasoned D.C. national security writer on the national desk.
The Post doesn’t actually cite any direct FBI sources, yet insists there is no espionage at play here. Instead it uses hearsay to claim insider intelligence into the investigation, as it writes:
Yet, according to a senior congressional official familiar with the probe, criminal investigators have found no evidence that the IT workers had any connection to a foreign government.
The Post, however, is quick to quote attorneys on the Awan payroll. And of course it likewise provides plenty of cover for Wasserman Schultz whose handlers blamed this whole misunderstanding on right wing conspirators.
No mention of the Russians. Yet.
At the crowded trough in The Swamp it’s just another free round of political cover for all the Post’s friends.
Again, FBI sources aren’t even quoted anonymously. Normally the Post at least fabricates quotes and sources when the newspaper is chartered with driving an agenda. It didn’t even bother to gin that up this round. Perhaps it wanted to save itself from getting busted again.
There are in fact so many inconsistencies, unfounded conclusions, and lazy errors in the Post story that it would bore us to write about and certainly bore the hell out of True Pundit readers to read about.
On the opposite side of boredom comes upstart CrowdSource the Truth who excoriated the Post story on the Awans, hammering its portrait photograph of Imran which they said was taken outside his lawyer’s office. The photo indeed looks like it originated from the Olan Mills Portrait Studio and getting Awan to pose could have only been arranged via his legal team. This is a man wearing an ankle monitor who was busted at Dulles International Airport by the FBI trying to jump on a flight to Pakistan. His wife pulled off that maneuver in March. She is still in Pakistan.
Random street pic or WaPo-infused Glamour Shot?
But CrowdSource editor Jason Goodman uncovered something even more troubling. Goodman has had extensive interviews with Laurel Everly, a previous tenant of Awan who rented out a number of houses in the D.C beltway. The background on that relationship can be found here. Goodman said Everly spent hours detailing to the Post that Awan maintained computer equipment — likely servers — and a router at her home while she rented it.
Despite the interview with the Post and emails back and forth between Everly and the reporter, her name was never even mentioned in the Post’s Awan story. Goodman released those emails in a recent broadcast.
This would seem to be more than a mere oversight by anyone’s journalistic standards.
Everly in fact had photo and video evidence of Awan’s clandestine computer set up in the basement and garage area of her home. Goodman said Post wasn’t interested.
Everly also detailed Awan may have been using other parts of the property she rented to warehouse more servers. Much of what Everly told the Post about Awan included:
- Awan pumped electricity from the main house to a detached locked storage shed that used cooling towers to preserve and maintain electronic “equipment.” Everly said she paid the electricity bill for set up but was not allowed access to the unit.
- Everly once reported to Awan the basement at her rented home had flooded and said the landlord panicked and showed up within minutes to check the equipment in the locked garage area.
- Everly thought Awan might be using her rental of the property to implicate her or set her up for possible illegal things he was involved in.
- Awan had his own key to the property and often used the house when Everly or her family members were away.
- Awan did not live at the house but used the address to receive personal mail at the location, often addressed to the names of different alias’ he employed.
- Awan demanded rent be paid in cash only.
- Everly maintained her own internet router and cable boxes on a different floor from Verizon at the rental property, separate from the Awan set up in the basement.
- Awan pressured the woman to sublet her basement to a number of Pakistani nationals who had relocated to the United States.
Yet neither Everly’s name nor her revelations ever even made it into the Post.
You do the math.