Debbie Wasserman Shultz and Pakistani Congressional IT Employees | An Exploding Scandal

 

By Ginny Bryce | Camarillo

Since the recent scandals of the Clintons’ 2010 uranium deal, the Russian dossier disgrace, and the FBI’s handling of the probe of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails have come to the surface, another scandal is bubbling up and could explode at any time.

The brothers, Imran, Abid, and Jamal Awan, originally from Pakistan were employed as Information Technical (IT) aids and worked for a number of congressional Democrats. They had access to the office computer files of these Democrats, including all emails, correspondence, confidential files –  everything. The Awans sent this data to an outside server, and much of it was also backed up to an unofficial Dropbox account, so Awan could have access to the data even after he was fired from the congressional network. It was a massive cybersecurity breach.

According to Andrew C. McCarthy of National Review, to access that kind of information requires a security clearance, and the Awans could not possibly have qualified for a security clearance.

Eventually, Imran’s wife, Hina Alvi and Abid’s wife Natalia Sova, also began receiving congressional paychecks, as well as Rao Abbas, their associate in the Awan’s Cars International A (CIA) car dealership business. Abbas, who was owed money by the Awans, was placed on the congressional payroll.

Despite earning $160,000 a year on Capitol Hill, Abid simultaneously ran the car dealership

Debbie Wasserman Shultz | Imran Awan

Other congressional IT aides have said they believe some of the suspects were “ghost employees.” Rao Abbas, for example, lived in the basement of a house that Imran owned, and worked at McDonald’s until he was fired from that job. He was home all day, his housemate said.” 

According to payroll records, Abbas was the only IT worker for Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri and the only D.C.–based one for Ted Deutch of Florida.

Debbie Wasserman Shultz was deeply involved in this scandal, but let’s start with the California congressional people and other events involving the House Democrats. 

Californians

When California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra was a US Representative in Washington D.C., he was one of five members who first hired Imran Awan in 2004.

In 2013, Imran Awan allegedly routed data from numerous House Democrats to a secret server connected to the House Democratic Caucus, chaired by then Rep. Xavier Becerra. Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller on Tuesday, October 12, 2017 stated Becerra was personally responsible for “far more of the payments to the Awan family than any other member.”

The executive director of the Democratic Caucus was Sean McCluskie, who was Becerra’s chief of staff and is now chief deputy attorney general of California.

California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra

On October 10, 2017, Fox News reported that Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Scott Perry said “Awan and four of his associates made 5,400 unauthorized logins on a single government server that belonged to Xavier Becerra, then head of house Democratic Caucus and now attorney General of California.

Billingsley also asked, “What material did Awan take from members of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees?  Did Imran Awan send any classified information to his homeland Pakistan, which aids the Taliban and harbored Osama bin Laden? Or did he sell it off to Russia or perhaps North Korea?

On Jan. 24, 2017, Becerra vacated his congressional seat to become California’s attorney general. He wanted to wipe clean his server but it was brought to his attention it was under investigation. Police informed Becerra that the server was the subject of an investigation and requested a copy of it, but they were given an elaborate falsified image designed to hide the massive violation. Authorities considered the false image to be interference in a criminal matter, according to Luke Rosiak of The Daily Caller. Lloyd Billingsley, FrontPage Magazine, October 13, 2017 asked, “What, exactly, was on the server that House Democrats Caucus boss Xavier Becerra wanted to wipe clean?”

Besides, Becerra, other California Democrats who hired the Awans were Representatives: Pete Aguilar, Jim Costa, Karen Bass, Julia Brownley, Tony Cardenas, Ted Lieu, Jackie Speier, and Mark Takano. 

California Democrat Rep. Julia Brownley

Imran’s employers included two members of the House Intelligence Committee, Indiana Democrat Rep. Andre Carson and California Democrat Rep. Jackie Speier. Other committees involved were House Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security Committee.

“Imran Awan got the central IT to bend the rules for him so there wouldn’t be a paper trail about the unusually high permissions he was requesting. And their actions were not logged, so members have no way of knowing what information they may have taken, a central IT employee said.”

California Democrat Rep. Jackie Speier

California Democrat Rep. Ted Lieu

 

 

 

 

 

What event prompted Democrats to pay Imran $165,000 a year, his two brothers Abid and Jamal $161,000. Imran’s wife Hina Alvi and his brother’s wife Natalia Sova earned $160,000 each. Since they began working for the government, the family members have made $5 million overall, according to Legistorm.com. Imran has been paid $2 million and Abid $1.5 million.

Younger brother, Jamel, only 23 yars old, was paid a salary of nearly $160,000 since 2014 as an IT worker for Democrat Julia Brownley according to Michelle Malkin, Townhall, August 9, 2017. However, Lenny Young, the chief of staff for Brownley, D-Westlake Village, said Imran and Jamal Awan were “shared employees” with other House offices and “we paid them $1,667 a month.” Christiana Purves, a Republican Party spokesperson, noted that Brownley’s office paid $37,447 to the Awan brothers over the years.

In early 2016, the Chief of Staff for Democratic Rep. Yvette Clarke agreed to sign away $120,000 missing electronics equipment, which included many iPhones and iPads. House rules allow purchases under $500 to be treated differently. After one of the Awan brothers alerted the office the equipment was missing, the Chief of Staff signed a form removing the missing equipment from a House tracking system and did not inform the authorities of the huge sum of missing money.

Spokeswoman Christine L. Bennett refused to tell The Daily Caller News Foundation which chief of staff for Rep. Clarke signed the write-off form, or why they didn’t fire Abid or alert the authorities at the time.

 A source said, “A member or high-level staffer with financial responsibility in the office would still have to sign a voucher for each such purchase, raising the question of how the office wouldn’t have noticed equipment was being purchased that never actually materialized at the office, and in quantities an office might not plausibly need.”

According to The Daily Caller, Shelley Davis, Clarke’s prior longtime chief of staff, avoided calls from their organization, and that “Davis previously worked for Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and for Rev. Jesse Jackson’s nonprofit. Public records indicate Davis had money problems. He faced eviction from a Northeast Washington, D.C., apartment in 2011, according to D.C. court records.”

Relatives said Awan and his brothers were sending money and also sending IT equipment, such as iPhones, to Pakistan during the same period in which fraudulent purchase orders for that equipment were allegedly placed in the House, and in which congressional equipment apparently went missing.

On February 2, 2017, the Sergeant-at-Arms briefed top staffers for members of Congress that the U.S. Capitol Police was conducting a criminal investigation into the actions of the five Awan gang, including allegations of procurement scam, and violating the House IT network rules. They were barred from the computer networks at the House of Representatives. Most of the congress members terminated Awan’s services, but some such as Debbie Wasserman Schultz from Florida, continued to employ Awan in an advisory role and Gregory Meeks (D-NY) also did not let Imran go.

As of August 29, 2017, even after being banned from the network, Imran Awan still had an active email address linked to the name of a House staffer who specializes in intelligence and homeland security matters for Indiana Democratic Rep. André Carson.  Court documents and emails obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation show Awan used the address 123@mail.house.gov in addition to his standard imran.awan@mail.house.gov account.

On March 5, 2017, the FBI and Capitol Police stopped Awan’s wife, Hina Alvi, at the Washington Dulles International Airport. They allowed her and her three children to get on the flight to Lahore.

In July, 2017, as he was about to board a plane for Pakestan, Imran Awan was arrested on a charge of bank fraud.  Luke Rosiak wrote, “when Imran Awan tried to board a flight to Pakistan in July he was carrying documents with an alias in the Jackson Heights, Queens neighborhood of New York City, and possibly planning to relocate there under a different identity. According to prosecutors, Awan was taking ‘active measures’ to hide evidence, such as wiping clean his cell phone.”

Awan told the Congressional Federal Credit union that he needed to borrow $165,000 for a home mortgage but the house was really a rental property. This was included in the $284,000 he had just wired to Pakestan from his credit union account.

On July 26, 2017, Imran Awan retained Chris Gowen as his attorney. Gowen worked for the Bill Clinton White house and also worked for Senator Hillary Clinton. A biography from the American University, says Gowen worked on several Clinton projects, including the Clinton Global Initiative, The Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Health Access initiative.

On the same date, attorney Chris Gowen stated, “For months we have heard utterly unsupported, outlandish, and slanderous statements targeting Mr. Awan, coming not just from the ultra-right wing “pizzagate’ media, but from sitting members of congress.”  Gowen also described Awan’s arrest as “clearly a right-wing media-driven prosecution by a United States Attorney’s Office that wants to prosecute people for working while Muslim.”

A federal grand jury indicted Imran Awan on four seemingly unrelated felony counts including bank fraud, conspiracy and making false statements, but not on the cybersecurity issue. They also indicted his wife, Hina Alvi. FBI agents seized hard drives and other evidence from their Virginia home.

Fear among members of the House Democrats that Awan could release embarrassing information if they cooperated with prosecutors could explain why the Democrats have refused to acknowledge the cybersecurity breach publicly or criticize the suspects.

Shortly after the criminal probe was revealed in February, Imran abruptly moved out of his longtime home on Hawkshead Drive in Lorton, Va., and listed it for rent on a website that connects landlords with military families.

Andre Taggart, a Marine Corps veteran, moved in and said he found “wireless routers, hard drives that look like they tried to destroy, laptops, [and] a lot of brand new expensive toner.”

He called authorities, and FBI agents arrived together with the Capitol Police to interview him and confiscate the equipment.

“It was in the garage. They recycled cabinets and lined them along the walls. They left in a huge hurry,” the Marine said. “It looks like government-issued equipment. We turned that stuff over.”

Taggart said Imran wanted the hard drives back so desperately that he threatened to sue the renter for stealing them. Imran came to the house for the items “three to four times,” but the renter wouldn’t let him enter.

“It was unbelievable. I don’t know where they get off thinking they’re going to sue us for items we have no obligation to hold onto,” he said.

 “Their lawyer contacted us today via email and said we owed $350 in late charges and the items he left in the house,” he said.

Taggart heard about the House investigation on the radio, and by that time, he had noticed other bizarre signs of desperation from his landlord.

“When we first moved in, a mailman came with certified mail from the House of Representatives. We were trying to be nice and signed for it. They lost their shit, saying ‘why did you sign for it, this is illegal!’ It was certified from the [Chief Administrative Officer of the House],” he said.

“The postman came a second time with a certified letter and I called Imran on the spot, asking ‘what do you want me to do.’ He said ‘just send him away, I’m homeless.’ They refused to forward their mail.”


Ginny Bryce is a longtime Camarillo resident with a keen interest in keeping tabs on and writing about political goings-on, locally and nationally.


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2 Responses to Debbie Wasserman Shultz and Pakistani Congressional IT Employees | An Exploding Scandal

  1. Bruce Boyer December 1, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Whole lot of stuff to blow up here! lets hope it does!

    Reply
  2. William Hicks December 1, 2017 at 9:40 am

    I’m afraid that NOTHING will come of all this. There are leftovers from previous administrations, particularly the last one, that have cooked the books.

    I’m very disappointed in the current Attorney General for not draining the swamp in the FBI and Justice Department, in general.

    Reply

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