A month ago, three Muslim American brothers who managed office IT were barred from congressional computers (on suspicion that they accessed computers without permission). While many congressmen immediately relieved them of their duties, two House Democrats decided to delay the firing (until today) because their Muslim background, some with ties to Pakistan, could make them easy targets for false charges.
Imran Awan seen below with Bill Clinton
As we previously reported, the three brothers (Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan) who managed office IT for members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and other lawmakers were barred from computer networks at the House of Representatives Thursday, The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has learned.
Three members of the intelligence panel and five members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs were among the dozens of members who employed the suspects on a shared basis. The two committees deal with many of the nation’s most sensitive issues, information and documents, including those related to the war on terrorism.
The brothers are suspected of serious violations, including accessing members’ computer networks without their knowledge and stealing equipment from Congress.
The three men are “shared employees,” meaning they are hired by multiple offices, which split their salaries and use them as needed for IT services. It is up to each member to fire them from working...
While many congressmen did fire them immediately (and barred them from congressional systems), Politico reports that, one month after being barred from congressional systems, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) have finally fired the IT staff...
Meeks said he isn’t convinced Alvi and Imran Awan, both of whom worked in his office at different times, are involved in the alleged procurement scam but that Alvi was dismissed because the investigation was interrupting the day-to-day functions of his office.
“As of right now, I don’t see a smoking gun,” Meeks said. “I have seen no evidence that they were doing anything that was nefarious.”
Meeks said he was hesitant to believe the accusations against Alvi, Imran Awan and the three other staffers, saying their background as Muslim Americans, some with ties to Pakistan, could make them easy targets for false charges.
“I wanted to be sure individuals are not being singled out because of their nationalities or their religion. We want to make sure everybody is entitled to due process,” Meeks said.
“They had provided great service for me. And there were certain times in which they had permission by me, if it was Hina or someone else, to access some of my data.”
Fudge told Politico on Tuesday she would employ Imran Awan until he received “due process.”
“He needs to have a hearing. Due process is very simple. You don’t fire someone until you talk to them,” Fudge said.
On Wednesday, Lauren Williams, a spokeswoman for Fudge, wouldn’t provide details about Imran Awan’s firing but did confirm he was still employed in Fudge’s office as of Tuesday afternoon.
The bottom line is simple - these House Democrats decided it was better to be at risk of hacking and extortion than to be accused of racism.
And just for good measure, Politico reports that Awan has long-standing relationships with Meeks, Wasserman Schultz and Fudge. Meeks was one of the first lawmakers Awan worked for after coming to Capitol Hill in 2004. He joined Wasserman Schultz’s office in 2005 and started working for Fudge in 2008. In addition, Meeks and, to a larger extent, Wasserman Schultz, are said to have a friendly personal relationship with Awan and his wife, according to multiple sources. Awan made nearly $2 million since starting as an IT support staffer for House Democrats in 2004, according to public salary data. Alvi, who worked for House Democrats beginning in 2007, earned more than $1.3 million as an IT staffer during that time.