Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
Last year, eight members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence issued a demand that their staffers be granted access to top secret classified information.
The signatories to the letter were Andre Carson, Luis Guiterez, Jim Himes, Terri Sewell, Jackie Speier, Mike Quigley, Eric Swalwell and Patrick Murphy. All the signatories were Democrats. Some had a history of attempting to undermine national security.
Two of them have been linked to an emerging security breach.
The office of Andre Carson, the second Muslim in Congress, had employed Imran Awan. As did the offices of Jackie Speier and Debbie Wasserman Schultz; to whom the letter had been addressed.
Imran Awan and his two brothers, Jamal and Abid, are at the center of an investigation that deals with, among other things, allegations of illegal access. They have been barred from the House of Representatives network.
A member of Congress expressed concern that, “they may have stolen data from us.”
All three of the Pakistani brothers had been employed by Democrats. The offices that employed them included HPSCI minority members Speier, Carson and Joaquín Castro. Congressman Castro, who also sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, utilized the services of Jamal Moiz Awan. Speier and Carson’s offices utilized Imran Awan.
Abid A. Awan was employed by Lois Frankel and Ted Lieu: members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Also on the committee is Castro. As is Robin Kelly whose office employed Jamal Awan. Lieu also sits on the subcommittees on National Security and Information Technology of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Tammy Duckworth’s office had also employed Abid. Before Duckworth successfully played on the sympathy of voters to become Senator Tammy Duckworth, she had been on the Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces of the Armed Services Committee.
Gwen Graham, who had also been on the Armed Services Committee and on the Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee, had employed Jamal Awan. Jamal was also employed by Cedric Richmond’s office. Richmond sits on the Committee on Homeland Security and on its Terrorism and Cybersecurity subcommittee. He is a ranking member of the latter subcommittee. Also employing Jamal was Mark Takano of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
Imran had worked for the office of John Sarbanes who sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee that oversees, among other things, the nuclear industry. Other members of the Committee employing the brothers included Yvette Clarke, who also sits on the Bipartisan Encryption Working Group, Diana DeGette, Dave Loebsack and Tony Cardenas.
But finally there’s Andre Carson.
Carson is the second Muslim in Congress and the first Muslim on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and, more critically, is the ranking member on its Emerging Threats Subcommittee. He is also a member of the Department of Defense Intelligence and Overhead Architecture Subcommittee.
The Emerging Threats Subcommittee, of which Carson is a ranking member, is responsible for much of counterterrorism oversight. It is the worst possible place for a man with Carson’s credentials.
Carson had inherited his grandmother’s seat and exploited it to promote a radical Islamist agenda. He has interfaced with a laundry list of Islamist groups from CAIR to ISNA to ICNA to MPAC. Islamists have funded Carson’s career to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. The Center for Security Policy has put together a dossier of Carson’s connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood is the parent organization of many key Islamic terror groups posing a threat to our national security including Al Qaeda and Hamas.
Andre Carson shared the stage at a CAIR banquet with Sirraj Wahaj: an unindicted co-conspirator in the World Trade Center bombing who had once declared,” You don’t get involved in politics because it’s the American thing to do. You get involved in politics because politics are a weapon to use in the cause of Islam.” CAIR itself had been named an unindicted co-conspirator in terror finance.
Carson had praised Tariq Ramadan who had been barred from this country for funding Islamic terrorists. And the Muslim politician was a co-sponsor of the Free Syria Act which attempted to aid Islamist Jihadists in Syria linked to the Muslim Brotherhood such as the Free Syrian Army.
The presence of Andre Carson on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Emerging Threats Subcommittee has always been extremely controversial. But this latest breach involving Democrats on this committee and on other key national security committees raises serious questions about the scale and magnitude of the real problem caused by a compromised congress.
While Carson and other HPSCI Democrats had been demanding security clearance for their staffers, three Pakistani Muslims working for them appear to have compromised security to an unknown degree.
Why were the Awan brothers, one of whom had a criminal record, even allowed to work in such a sensitive position? How did the personnel suspected in this case pass background checks? And was any classified information compromised as a result of these alleged breaches?
These questions and more must be asked and answered. But they are only the first of many questions.
When the Democrats are so contemptuous of our national security that they put forward Andre Carson, a politician who has appeared at Islamist events and praised radicals and extremists, to such a sensitive position, it is not surprising that they are equally willing to hire walking security risks.
The most obvious lesson here is that security must be tightened. If Democrats refuse to take their responsibilities seriously, then President Trump must do it for them. Until the Awan case is resolved, those Democrats who employed them must have their access to classified material restricted.
Under no circumstances may the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence members who employed the Awan brothers be permitted to allow their staffers to gain access to classified material.
And Andre Carson must be forced to choose between his Islamist ties and his membership in the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Emerging Threats Subcommittee. No one should be allowed to have a foot in both the pro-terrorist and the counter-terrorist spheres of our society.
Congressional Republicans must take the lead in cleaning house. If they cannot do so, President Trump must step in. At stake are the security of our nation and the safety of our troops. The Democrats may have abandoned their responsibility to our brave men and women, from the battlefield to the VA, but those elected officials who still believe that their sacrifices matter cannot remain silent.
The swamp that allowed Andre Carson and the Awan brothers inappropriate access must be drained.