While the media has been entertaining itself with coverage of alleged Russian collusion and Confederate statues, a real live spy scandal has been shaping up inside Congress. The New York Post is reporting that the FBI is investigating the possibility that a ring of Pakistani-American IT staffers working for the House Democrats sold sensitive data to either Pakistani or Russian intelligence.

Imran Awan alleged to be the ringleader

The story starts when Imran Awan, an IT staffer working for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former Democratic National Committee head, was arrested while trying to flee to Pakistan on charges of defrauding the House credit union.

Awan and four other Pakistani Americans worked as IT contractors for the House Democrats. However, when they couldn’t provide invoices for hundreds of thousands of dollars in computer equipment, they were fired and placed under investigation. However, Wasserman Schultz, inexplicably kept Awan on her personal payroll, allowing him access to her passwords, up to the very moment he was arrested. He is alleged to have wired $300,000 to Pakistan before getting caught.

Indictments to be followed by pressure

Thursday, Imran Awan was indicted on charges of bank fraud, conspiracy and making false statements. The FBI intends to use these indictments to motivate Awan to confess to the much more severe crimes of cyber espionage.

The charges are serious. Not only were national security secrets allegedly compromised, but embarrassing information on members of Congress that could be used for blackmail purposes were revealed. Wasserman Schultz, who left her position as head of the DNC under a cloud, is caught up in the middle of a spy scandal. Why did she retain Awan’s services when it was clear that he had become compromised?

Did Awan have something on her that caused her to have no choice but to allow him free access to the network? She went so far as to threaten the Capitol Police which had seized Awan’s laptop issued to him by her office with “consequences.”

Awan allies play the Muslim card

Faced with these allegations that could bring about lengthy jail sentences, Awan’s lawyer, Christopher Gowen, former Hillary Clinton staffer, is claiming that his client was indicted for “working while Muslim.” Wasserman Schultz has told the media that Awan is a victim of “ethnic and racial profiling.” The tactic smacks of desperation concerning an alleged felon with a lot of incriminating evidence against him.

Almost as important, Wasserman Schultz is in considerable legal jeopardy. If any evidence exists that she knew what Awan was allegedly up to, an ignominious end to her political career would be the least of her worries.