There has been a good deal of noise — though perhaps not enough — surrounding a recently fired IT aide to Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz , Imran Awan, and his family’s potential financial schemes. While certain outlets are working out the facts of the case, The New York Times, BuzzFeed, and Snopes seem more concerned with casting doubt by bringing up speculations and misinformation about the story from unknown blog sites and YouTubers.
The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group reporter Luke Rosiak, who has covered this story extensively since it first appeared in February, broke the news Sunday that “FBI agents seized smashed computer hard drives from the home of Wasserman Schultz’s information technology (IT) administrator, according to two sources with knowledge of the investigation.”
The Times and BuzzFeed fail to mention this and many other key facts in recent articles, and Snopes obfuscates the story by rating a claim from a no-name blog as false, requiring the reader to dig through the fact check to find the truth.
Awan was arrested Monday night just hours after TheDCNF’s Sunday story said he was under investigation by the FBI. “He attempted to leave the country hours after The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group revealed that he is the target of an FBI investigation, and the FBI apprehended him at the airport,” Rosiak reported.
Before attempting to leave for Pakistan, Awan wired almost $300,000 to the country. As Rosiak notes:
Credit union officials permitted the wire to go through, and his wife has already fled the country to Pakistan, after police confronted her at the airport and found $12,000 in cash hidden in her suitcase but did not stop her from boarding, court documents show.
The majority of the space in Times article Friday is dedicated to casting doubt on stories surrounding Awan by using his lawyer, Christopher Gowen, as a reputable defense for Awan. Not only does the Times ignore Gowen’s deep ties to the Clintons, which TheDCNF has reported in detail, but the article also attempts to cast doubt by citing theories from a no-name conspiracy theorist who supports Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (though the Times calls him a “right winger”).
The Times complains that “for all the publicity, few if any of the fundamental facts of the case have come into focus” but fails to mention some of those fundamental facts within the article.
The article makes no mention of the official Fairfax court documents that Rosiak has repeatedly linked to in his multiple stories on the Awans:
‘Imran Awan threatened that he is very powerful and if I ever call the police again, [he] will … kidnap my family members back in Pakistan,’ Awan’s stepmother, Samina Gilani, claimed in the documents filed April 14 in Fairfax County, Va., in the case of Americo Financial Life and Annuity Insurance Company v. Abid A. Awan and Samina Ashraf Gilani.
In an article seeking to explain the events surrounding Imran Awan and his family, BuzzFeed rebukes certain so-called “far-right” conspiracy theories, writing:
Far-right and pro-Trump media have tried without evidence to link Awan and his wife, brother, and friends to conspiracy theories, especially those surrounding the release of the DNC emails.
While these theories are being pushed by some, BuzzFeed — along with Times — uses them to cast doubt on the story by asking Awan’s lawyer what he thinks of the speculations. BuzzFeed provides Awan’s lawyer five paragraphs to refute said speculations.
Like the Times, BuzzFeed never mentions the smashed hard drives that the FBI seized from Awan’s home and continually uses the lawyer to downplay accusations that Awan was fleeing the country.
BuzzFeed never mentions that Wasserman Schultz threatened Capitol Police with “consequences” if they did not return a laptop used by Awan. These are only a few examples of the many details BuzzFeed and the Times omit from recent articles that instead focus on a few people floating conspiracy theories and the defense of Awan’s lawyer.
Snopes also attempts to obfuscate the story. In an article from Wednesday titled “Did The Federal Bureau of Investigation Seize Smashed Hard Drives From Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s Home?” Snopes rates the claim as false. They aren’t entirely wrong — just deliberately misleading. As stated early, the smashed hard drives were seized from Awan’s house, not Wasserman Schultz’s.
Snopes does cite the original report from TheDCNF, which BuzzFeed either completely missed or did not want to include in its article.
Regardless of external noise, theories and blogs, the Times, BuzzFeed and Snopes have made a perhaps unwitting effort to bury information surrounding the Awan story.
The New York Times did not respond to a request for comment.
This report, by Holmes Lybrand, was cross posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.