As the Russian "hacking" episode continues to mire the Trump administration in nebulous innuendo and daily claims of collusion, Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller reminds us that House Democrats participated in an actual data breach conducted by Pakistani-nationals who were given access to highly sensitive intelligence as part of their duties providing IT support to members of Congress - and in particular, Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Gregory Meeks (D-NY).
"Every one of the 44 House Democrats who hired Pakistan-born IT aides who later allegedly made “unauthorized access” to congressional data appears to have chosen to exempt them from background checks," writes Rosiak.
All of them appear to have waived background checks on Imran Awan and his family members, even though the family of server administrators could collectively read all the emails and files of 1 in 5 House Democrats, and despite background checks being recommended for such positions, according to an inspector general’s report. The House security policy requires offices to fill out a form attesting that they’ve initiated background checks, but it also includes a loophole allowing them to simply say that another member vouched for them. -Daily Caller
.@lukerosiak broke the news that 44 Democrats used a loophole to waive background checks on the #AwanBrothers— Katica (@GOPPollAnalyst) April 2, 2018
Read 👉 https://t.co/13Z9qPx0NH
Reminder: Debbie Wasserman Schultz threatened a police chief who has her laptop for the investigation. pic.twitter.com/n9aKt998IY
Had any of the 44 House Democrats performed background checks, they would have discovered several red flags in Abid Awan's past - including "a $1.1 million bankruptcy, six lawsuits against him or a company he owned; and at least three misdemeanor convictions including for DUI and driving on a suspended license, according to Virginia court records," notes Rosiak.
WOW: IG report finds nearly 50 Democrats waived background checks for Pakistani IT aide Imran Awan who was accused of hacking.— Stelian Onufrei (@TheStelian) April 2, 2018
This is the same man who was arrested earlier this year for bank fraud as he was attempting to flee the country.pic.twitter.com/wVbKXpq4Or
Meanwhile, Schultz introduced a bill on Monday that would require background checks on all Americans purchasing ammunition. “Without bullets a gun is just a hunk of useless metal,” she said, describing ammunition the “loophole” when it comes to gun control.
Former DNC chair, who hired Pakistanis to manage her US Congressional email accounts, introduces bill to perform background checks on ammunition purchasers... 🤦🏻♂️ can’t make this stuff up.— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) March 29, 2018
Let's pause to appreciate Rep. Louie Gohmert's reaction when he learns that the Awans were telecommuting and had full access to House Democratic computer systems from Pakistan.
Clip of the year? @replouiegohmert learns from @lukerosiak that Debbie Wasserman Schultz indicted staffer teleworking and providing House Dem IT "support" from Pakistan! Full @JudicialWatch discussion here....https://t.co/4HwY3Jgvd2 pic.twitter.com/VVjkiujJqo— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) December 17, 2017
A background check would have also revealed that The Awans operated a used car dealership known as "CIA" in court filings, which has all the markings of a money laundering operation:
On its Facebook page, CIA's "staff" were fake personalities such as "James Falls O'Brien," whose photo was taken from a hairstyle model catalog, and "Jade Julia," whose image came from a web page called "Beautiful Girls Wallpaper."
If a customer showed up looking to buy a car from Cars International A, often referred to as CIA, Abid Awan - who was managing partner of the dealership while also earning $160,000 handling IT for House Democrats - would frequently simply go across the street to longstanding dealership called AAA Motors and get one. -Daily Caller
The Awans allegedly borrowed, laundered and never repaid a $100,000 from a shady Iraqi expat physician linked to Hezbollah (and who oddly advised the Bush administration on rebuilding Iraq). When the Awans stopped paying vendors of their 'CIA' dealership, a U.S. Congressman from Florida, Theo Deutch, began paying a monthly salary to a man who had threatened to sue the Awans.
The brothers had numerous additional sources of income, all of which seemed to disappear. While they were supposedly working for the House, the brothers were running a car dealership full-time that didn't pay its vendors, and after one - Rao Abbas - threatened to sue them, he began receiving a paycheck from Rep. Theodore Deutch (D-FL), who like Wasserman Schultz represents Florida. -Daily Caller
"Based on the modest way Awan was living, it is my opinion that he was sending most of his money to a group or criminal organization that could very well be connected with the Pakistani government," said Wayne Black - a private investigator who worked in Janet Reno's Miami public corruption unit, adding "My instincts tell me Awan was probably operating a foreign intelligence gathering operation on US soil," sentiment echoed by Fox's Judge Andrew Napolitano.
Meanwhile, an internal House investigation concluded that the Awans impersonated at least 15 U.S. House members for whom they did not work - using their credentials to log into Congressional servers, before migrating data to a single server, which was stolen during the investigation, all while covering their tracks - reports Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller.
This, and much more is detailed in a presentation assembled the House's internal watchdog - the Office of the Inspector General, after a four-month internal probe.
The presentation, written by the House’s Office of the Inspector General, reported under the bold heading “UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS” that “5 shared employee system administrators have collectively logged into 15 member offices and the Democratic Caucus although they were not employed by the offices they accessed.” -DC
One systems administrator “logged into a member’s office two months after he was terminated from that office,” reads the investigative summary.
There are strong indications that many of the 44 members’ data — including personal information of constituents seeking help — was entirely out of those members’ possession, and instead was stored on the House Democratic Caucus server. The aggregation of multiple members’ data would mean all that data was absconded with, because authorities said that entire server physically disappeared while it was being monitored by police. -DC
The OIG also concluded that the Awans' behavior appeared to be a "classic method for insiders to exfiltrate data from an organization," as well as indications that a House server was "being used for nefarious purposes and elevated the risk that individuals could be reading and/or removing information," and "could be used to store documents taken from other offices," the Caller reports.
A House committee staffer close to the probe told The Daily Caller that “the data was always out of [the members’] possession. It was a breach. They were using the House Democratic Caucus as their central service warehouse.”
“All 5 of the shared employee system administrators collectively logged onto the Caucus system 5,735 times, an average of 27 times per day… This is considered unusual since computers in other offices managed by these shared employees were accessed in total less than 60 times,” the presentation reads.
The internal document also shoots down any notion that the access was for some legitimate purpose - indicating "This pattern of login activity suggests steps are being taken to conceal their activity."
A second presentation shows that shortly before the election, their alleged behavior got even worse. “During September 2016, shared employee continued to use Democratic Caucus computers in anomalous ways:
- Logged onto laptop as system administrator
- Changed identity and logged onto Democratic Caucus server using 17 other user account credentials
- Some credentials belonged to Members
- The shared employee did not work for 9 of the 17 offices to which these user accounts belonged.”
Without even considering espionage, Under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), simply accessing a computer and obtaining information carries a sentence of up to 10 years for more than one conviction of the same abuse. Trespassing on a government computer also carries a 10 year sentence. You can see the rest of the CFAA penalties below, many of which appear to fit the Awan case:
While each violation above carries its own penalties, let's look at the first one; National Security violations Under the CFAA, a felony:
Meanwhile, Wasserman Schultz was the chair of the DNC when Wikileaks published leaked emails from the organization, along with Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager John Podesta. Schultz and other Democrats have called the breach "an act of war" and "an assault on our democracy," notes Luke Rosiak.
But there is no indication Democrats put those concerns into practice when they entrusted the Pakistani dual citizens with their data, nor when suspicious activity was detected. Police banned the suspects from the network after the IG report, but Wasserman Schultz kept Imran on staff anyway. He was in the building and in possession of a laptop with the username RepDWS months later, according to an April 6, 2017 police report.
The House security policy, HISPOL16, says “House Offices shall… Ensure background checks, as defined in this policy, have been conducted on Privileged Users.” It includes quarterly reviews of privileged accounts’ appropriateness. By the time the policy was enacted, some members had dropped the Awans for assorted reasons, including Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona in early 2015 for what her spokesperson called “incompetence.” -Daily Caller
Every one of the 44 House Democrats who hired Pakistan-born IT aides who later allegedly made “unauthorized access” to congressional data appears to have chosen to exempt them from background checks. https://t.co/0BDiOg44mo— Nick Short 🇺🇸 (@PoliticalShort) April 2, 2018
That said, the same Democrats whose hair is on fire over the Russian hacking narrative simply didn't care about Pakistani foreign nationals infiltrating their network.
And a reminder:
As we learn 44 Dems waived background checks on the #AwanBrothers, let's not forget Hillary let Platte River Networks work on her server & MOVE IT with CLASSIFIED INFO before they signed a contract. No background checks— Katica (@GOPPollAnalyst) April 2, 2018
Dems don't care about Nat'l Security
Vault Part 1; pgs 5-7 pic.twitter.com/TayqJcd3AF
To read more about the Awans, take a look at the extensive reporting below by Luke Rosiak:
Imran Awan: A Continuing DCNF Investigative Group Series
- Court docs
- House IT Aides Ran Car Dealership With Markings Of A Nefarious Money Laundering Operation
- Becerra Tried To Block Awan From House Democratic Caucus Server, But Logins Continued; He Didn't Go To Cops
- Hard Drive Tied to Wasserman Schultz Is Central To Imran Awan Case
- 18 Months In, Dem IT Aides Not Charged With Hill Crimes Despite Evidence
- Used Political Influence To Have Fraud Charges Dropped In Pakistan
- Own Wife Turns, Accuses Him Of Fraud, Violent Threats
- Imran Awan 'Very Strongly' Wants To Block Review Of Hard Drive, Was Using Alias
- Lawyer Says Congressmen Wanted Invoices Falsified
- Sending Money To Police Officer In Pakistan
- Funneling 'Massive' Data Off Congressional Server, Dems Claim It's Child's Homework
- 'Like a Slave': Three Muslim Women, At Least One Of Them Bloodied, Called Police on Imran
- Had Secret Server, Caught Falsifying Evidence To Cover It Up
- Imran Still Has Copy Of House Laptop DWS Said Has Sensitive Leg-Branch Info
- DWS Laptop Found at 3AM In Phone Booth With Letter To Prosecutors
- Awan Asks Judge To Remove GPS, Citing Possible Emergency With Kids--Who Are In Pakistan
- Has Secret, Still-Active House Accountfirstname.lastname@example.org--Linked To Intelligence Specialist
- DWS 'Islamophobia' Claim Prompts Angered Witnesses To Go Public
- Rep. Yvette Clarke Quietly Signed Away $120,000 In Missing Equipment
- Imran, Hina Indicted For Conspiracy Against U.S.
- DWS Now Says Laptop She Sought To Keep From Police Was Awan's, Not Hers
- Liquidating $1.8M In Real Estate When Arrested, Some Still Pending
- DWS Seemingly Planned To Pay Suspect Even While He Lived In Pakistan
- Lawyer Is Longtime Clinton Associate
- Arrested At Airport After Wiring $300k To Pakistan
- FBI Seized Smashed Hard Drives From Home
- Ex-DNC Head 'Negotiating' With Police Over Letting Them See Evidence
- Dems Tying Themselves Into Knots To Ignore Criminal Probe
- 'You'd Like Him:' Associates Describe 'Cunning,' Charismatic Con Artist
- In Personal Lives, Evidence Of Massive Cons
- House Dems Hired A Fired McDonald's Worker As Email Administrator
- DWS Admits To Violating Network Security, Blames House
- Wasserman Schultz Threatened Police Chief For Gathering Evidence
- Suspect Has Fled To Pakistan, Relative Says
- House IT Aides Fear Suspects In Hill Breach Are Blackmailing Members
- Read the Court Docs Detailing Their Greed, Ruthlessness
- Paul Ryan: Capitol Police Getting 'Assistance' On Criminal Investigation
- Brothers Could Read Every Email Of Dozens Of Congressmen
- ...Also Had Access To DNC Emails
- ...Allegedly Kept Stepmom In 'Captivity' To Access Offshore Cash
- ...Received $4 Million From Dem Reps
- ...Owed Money To Hezbollah-Connected Fugitive
- ...Secretly Took $100K In Iraqi Money
- Brothers Had Massive Debts, Years Of Suspicious Activity
- House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs Committee Members IT Compromised