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Debbie Wasserman Schultz Defends Arrested IT Aide Imran Awan

The former DNC chair said she stood up “for what’s right” by not firing the employee who attempted to flee Pakistan.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), the former chair of the Democratic National Committee, defended her decision to continue employing IT aide Imran Awan as investigations swirled around the employee in an interview with the Sun Sentinel.

Wasserman Schultz went further, defending the man himself, saying that he was targeted because of his Muslim faith.

“There are times when you can’t be afraid to stand alone, and you have to stand up for what’s right,” she told the paper. “It would have been easier for me to just fire him.”

The Florida congresswoman listed other issues that she had with the investigation:

“I had grave concerns about his due process rights being violated,” she said. “When their investigation was reviewed with me, I was presented with no evidence of anything that they were being investigated for. And so that, in me, gave me great concern that his due process rights were being violated. That there were racial and ethnic profiling concerns that I had,” she said.

Wasserman Schultz said the chiefs of staff were told that Awan and his family members were having their access to the House IT network cut off because they were under investigation for “procurement violations and data transfer violations.” Wasserman Schultz said from what she has been able to discern the data transfer issue doesn’t involve anything sinister.

Law enforcement arrested Awan on charges of bank fraud as he attempted to flee to Pakistan.

Capitol police confiscated Awan’s computer earlier this year, which prompted Wasserman Schultz to threaten the Capitol police chief with “consequences” during a budget meeting.