Congressman warns Dems handed U.S. secrets to Pakistanis
Allowed regular access to communications of intel committee membersAlicia Powe About
The taxpayers’ dollars confiscated from Congress is “not the highest of our concerns,” Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, told WND in an interview about the case of IT staffer Imran Awan, his brothers Abid and Jamal, and their wives Natalia Sova and Hina Alvi.
The Awans were highly paid IT administrators working for dozens of House Democrats until Capitol Police began probing them earlier this year. The family is accused of stealing equipment from more than 20 congressional offices and accessing the House IT system without members’ knowledge.
“The American people deserve to know the truth to this; it is a big deal,” King said. “It’s not just $6 or $7 million, $120,000 worth of equipment here or there. The biggest thing is that the brothers, Awan’s wife and friend all had access to the private emails and electronic communications of members of Congress and all their staff.”
King said there’s “no telling what they downloaded, what they know.”
“They’ve had access to all of the computers of about 60 Democratic House members,” he said. “The access of that information would not have been limited. They would have had the passwords for all of those members of Congress.”
After wiring approximately $300,000 to his native Pakistan in July, Imran Awan was arrested by the FBI at Dulles International Airport. He was then indicted on four counts of bank fraud in connection with his wire transfer. He was carrying $12,000 in cash on him at the time of his arrest.
The IT staffers allegedly ran a ghost employee scheme with a take of nearly $6 million over the years.
There’s evidence Abid also ran a Virginia car dealership while being paid $160,000 annually to work for multiple House Democrats. The dealership reportedly received $100,000 from an Iranian fugitive linked to Hezbollah, according to court records.
Abid was working for Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., at a time when $120,000 in IT equipment went missing from her office. Clarke’s office did not tell police at the time, and Abid remained employed for six more months.
Democratic Party lawmakers – with the exception of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla. – dismissed the family members as employees last winter when a number of suspicions were raised.
Awan worked for Wasserman Schultz for 13 years, beginning when she was first elected to Congress in 2004.
Awan remained on the payroll of Wasserman Schultz – who served as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee when its IT network was hacked in 2016 – until he was arrested in July.
The Florida congresswoman insists Awan didn’t have access to any classified information.
But King refuted the former DNC chair’s claims, explaining that Democratic members of Congress who serve on intelligence committees would, by the nature of their work, correspond about sensitive information.
“The argument is that there was no classified information that was compromised or breached – that’s what they said about Hillary Clinton at first,” he said. “Some of them – like Andre Carson served on the Select Committee on Intelligence – would have access to the highest level of classified information that we have in the United States Congress.”
Hillary Clinton claimed there was no secret information on her private email server setup, but investigators revealed later there were significant numbers of emails containing classified material.
King said the Democrats essentially surrendered highly classified material to anti-American Pakistani workers who “don’t have allegiance to the United States.”
“The GOP wants to put the government back on its rails again and operating efficiently. Democrats want to pull it down,” he said. “When we hire people to work in our office, I want to make sure I am looking them in the eye. I want to know whose doing what work and what they’re going to get paid for that. That’s our jobs to do that.
“Instead, they are funneling taxpayer dollars to people who, at a minimum, are not natural-born American citizens. If they’re sending money to Pakistan and absconding to Pakistan, they don’t have allegiance to the United States, either.”
The Awans could be just “a crooked family that found a way to scam the House of Representatives and skim wages out,” he said.
But the worst-case scenario, King explained, is the Pakistani family funneled information or money “into the hands of the Taliban or ISIS.”
“It could be a coordinated effort to set up a pseudo business here in the House of Representatives, for the purposes of gaining access to classified, prioritized information,” he said. “Who would that money go to in Pakistan? Family perhaps. But we also know there are extensive and sophisticated money-electing methods in that part of the world.
“The network that’s there allowed them to bill for the computer equipment for just a few dollars less than $500, then sign a service contract that would be of multiple hours. They could rake all that money out and move the equipment out because they are not required to inventory computer equipment that’s under $500. The wages and the computer equipment are not as important, in my view, as access to all of this proprietary information – which may be classified.”
He criticized Wasserman Schultz for putting the family on the congressional payroll and then keeping them there even though an investigation was raising questions.
“It’s not a new pattern for her – she refused to allow the FBI to look at the DNC computers when they wanted to investigate the Russian attempt to hack into the DNC – she hasn’t been held adequately accountable for that,” he said.
“WikiLeaks had emails of Imran and his brothers. If you believe the Russians did the hacking, and they handed the emails over to WikiLeaks, that meant the Russians had access to a lot of information on Democrat House members. Democrats House members don’t want an investigation – they don’t want the public to find out what’s in the emails nor do they want Americans to know the facts about how they left their doors wide open to a group that’s at best, scam artists.”
Wasserman Schultz claimed it was “Islamophobia” that sparked the investigations.
It was the Daily Caller that reported Imran Awan may have forwarded data from members of Congress to a secret server.
The scheme blew up last February when the three Awan brothers and two of their wives who managed information technology for dozens of Democrats were relieved of their duties and barred from House computer networks.
The brothers and their associates are now under criminal investigation by the U.S. Capitol Police, which is getting expert technical assistance, presumably from the FBI. The criminal investigation actually began in late 2016, with the brothers under suspicion of secretly accessing the lawmakers computer networks, storing information on secret servers and stealing the IT equipment from Congress.
Among those employing the family members were three members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and five members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, which store sensitive national security documents, including material related to terrorism, on their own committee servers.
As WND reported, federal agents arrested Imran Awan at Dulles Airport in Virginia as he tried to flee the U.S. in July and fly to the Mideast. Awan was arraigned in federal court in Washington, and he pleaded not guilty to one count of bank fraud following allegations he tried to defraud the Congressional Federal Credit Union. He and his wife, Hina Alvi, had wired $300,000 to Pakistan.
Hina Alvi had fled to Pakistan already but then struck a deal with federal officials to return to the U.S.