Here’s something that should be a huge scandal, but instead barely made the news: A former House IT aide transferred terabytes of private information from Congress to the Pakistani government.
If you haven’t heard much about this, don’t worry – it’s been easy to miss! That’s what happens when 1) something looks bad for Democrats and 2) news happens faster than anybody can reasonably wade through it.
To recap what we know: Imran Awan worked as an IT aide for 44 House Democrats. Managing Congressional tech became a family affair, with 4 of Awan’s close relatives eventually working for Congress as well. Though Congressional rules state that anyone working with sensitive data should undergo a background check, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and many other Democrats waived the background check requirement for the members of the Awan family.
As you can guess, that ended up being a huge mistake. In September 2016, the Office of the Inspector General found that the Awans were logging into House servers using the credentials of Congressmen who had fired them, then stealing data, and then covering their tracks. Had the Democrats bothered to follow the cybersecurity rules, they would have found bankruptcies, domestic violence allegations, and at least one DUI in the Awans’ backgrounds.
The whole situation got shadier after the OIG report came out. The House Democratic Caucus’ server “physically disappeared.” Poof. Gone. Where did it go? Government officials won’t say (because the investigation is ongoing) but…I have some guesses. Just one guess, actually.
Imran Awan’s wife and children fled to Pakistan with tons of cash. They then cashed out their retirement account and sent all the money to Pakistan. Imran tried to join them in July of last year, but was arrested at the airport. He’s still in the United States on trial for federal fraud charges.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz didn’t fire Awan until after he was arrested, even though Capitol police booted him off the servers on February 2, 2017. Wasserman Schultz has not commented on why she kept him on payroll for 6 months after he could legally do any work (she tried to say he could work on printers, but those still require network access). Awan wiped his phone just prior to his arrest, in what I’m sure is a total coincidence.
Imran Awan’s lawyer is a former Clinton aide, because you didn’t really think we’d get through a story about Democrats, corruption, and data security failures without a connection to the Clintons, did you?
The Daily Caller sent a reporter to Pakistan and found that Imran’s father allegedly handed over a USB drive containing terabytes of Congressional data to a Pakistani lawmaker who used to head up the country’s intelligence agency. While we don’t know what was on that USB drive, it must have been juicy. The Pakistani government has now assigned security agents to travel everywhere with Awan, who has bragged that he could “change the U.S. president.”
It is a matter of national security that we learn what Awan stole and what Pakistan knows. What we know now is that Debbie Wasserman Schultz cannot be trusted to vet her staff OR manage classified data safely. She has managed to dodge the press on this so far, but she needs to answer why she waived the background checks and why she didn’t fire the Awans when it became clear they were stealing data.