As news spread that the IT aide of former Democratic National Committee chairwoman and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., was arrested by federal law enforcement officials as he attempted to flee the country, enterprising reporters and law enforcement officials alike began to piece together the web of computer security breaches that reportedly occurred on the Congress member's watch.
Foreign-born IT provider Imran Awan reportedly breached the mainframe of the House Intelligence Committee as well as the House Foreign Affairs Committee. While doing so, Awan, his brother, and his wife (who has now fled to Pakistan), were paid a whopping $4 million in taxpayer-funded salary since 2009, according to public salary records.
Overnight, we also learned that Awan reportedly also consulted for the DNC and possessed the password for the iPad which then-chairwoman Wasserman Schultz used for official DNC business at or around the same time that the DNC's email system was hacked and DNC emails were published by Wikileaks.
This means that during the intrusion into IT systems containing national security information (as well as potentially the DNC and their election information), Democrats were wagging their fingers at Republicans for purported Russian interference, while Democrats themselves had a fox in their own henhouse.
The hypocrisy of Democrats is stunning.
Their unwillingness to help law enforcement is even more so.
Initially, Wasserman Schultz refused to fire the IT aide "despite being a known criminal suspect in a cybersecurity probe," instead placing him in an advisory capacity in order to circumvent the ban on having him as an IT provider. As of Tuesday morning (the day he was arrested), Wasserman Schultz still employed him. In her own interactions with authorities, she also previously refused to turn over her laptop to law enforcement and threatened the Capitol Police for getting involved.
Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel took to the airwaves yesterday, rightfully suggesting that Wasserman Schultz had in fact "obstructed" the investigation into a known national security threat.
The former DNC chairwoman's behavior is not only disturbing, it is unbecoming of a member of Congress who was entrusted with great responsibilities. By knowingly permitting the IT provider to remain employed and place our national security at risk, Wasserman Schultz's actions border on criminally negligent.
For that, the punishment against her must be swift.
Fortunately, Congress has the process of censure at their disposal. Censure is a formal and public reprimand of a member "whose actions run counter to the group's acceptable standards for individual behavior." Wasserman Schultz's actions certainly fit that description.
In fact, history shows that members of Congress have been censured for a variety of lesser offenses. In 1832, a representative from Ohio was censured for "insulting the speaker of the house." Other members have been censured for mail fraud and "improper use of campaign funds." Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, members have been censured for using "unparliamentary language."
Congress must censure Wasserman Schultz for knowingly placing our national security at risk and to send a message that unprofessional behavior won't be tolerated. It is the least they can do to ensure that a security breach like this never occurs again.
Jennifer Kerns (@JenKernsUSA) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. A GOP communications strategist, she served as spokeswoman for the California Republican Party, recalls in Colorado, and California's Prop. 8. Previously, she served as a writer for the 2016 U.S. presidential debates for FOX News.
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