A Democratic congressional aide arrested by the FBI while trying to travel to Pakistan may have ties to terrorism, a Republican lawmaker suggested to the Justice Department.
Former IT aide Imran Awan, who worked for Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and about a dozen other Democratic lawmakers, has been accused of bank fraud for allegedly obtaining a loan "for a rental property he does not own" and then sending the money to Pakistan. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., thinks that money could pose a national security problem.
"While we can never tolerate breaches of the public trust, the wire transfer to Pakistan is particularly alarming as Pakistan is home to numerous terrorist organizations," DeSantis wrote in a Wednesday letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Awan is among several IT staffers suspected of "accessing members' computer networks without their knowledge and stealing equipment from Congress," as the Daily Caller first reported in February. Most of the staffers were fired immediately, but Awan remained on Wasserman Schultz's payroll until he was arrested Monday. The case led to tensions between the former chair of the Democratic National Committee and Capitol Police, because investigators confiscated a laptop owned by her office that was hidden by Awan in a congressional building.
"If a member loses equipment and it is found by your staff and identified as that member's equipment and the member is not associated with any case, it is supposed to be returned," Wasserman Schultz told Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa in May. "I think you're violating the rules when you conduct your business that way and you should expect that there will be consequences."
DeSantis wants Sessions to expand the investigation by working with the Treasury Department to freeze Awan's assets and investigate activity related to his bank account.
"The allegations levied against Imran Awan are alarming and could have serious national security ramifications," DeSantis said in a statement accompanying the letter. "The Department of Justice must work to immediately mitigate the damage done by Awan and take whatever measures are necessary, including freezing illicit funds, in order to fully investigate this incident."