by Ruby Henley
I honestly thought the American people had heard the last on the Awan IT spy scandal, but thankfully I was wrong. As most of you know Imran Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, were charged last summer with bank fraud. Alvi had fled back to Pakistan, but Imran was arrested at the airport before he could do so.
Of course, we remember that Imran Awan was a congressional IT aide to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and he was finally fired just after he was arrested trying to fly to Pakistan last summer.
Wasserman Schultz’s excuse for maintaining Imran’s employment following highly unusual activity related to government communications was summed up in one sentence by the ex-DNC leader. She said, ‘I had to do the right thing.’ My question is, ‘Why did you fail to think of the security of your own Country?”
If you take away anything from this new material, may it be the following shocker – The Awans had access to and were copying all the emails, personal schedules, and other data from the Democrats they worked for to a Dropbox account. The question must be asked, ‘Why?’
It appears the Awans are now poised to strike a plea deal with the Department of Justice. A plea agreement hearing is set for July 3 before U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan in Washington, Fox News reported Wednesday.
However, it seems each time the Awans are summoned to court, it is postponed, so don’t hold your breath. However, the fact that this case is still alive is a reason to celebrate.
It appears that the bank fraud charges in this case are a way to get the Awans to court. This was my hope, and I believe it is true. I thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as this is one of the most important cases in the history of the United States.
Alleged theft of congressional equipment, massive data breaches of Congress members’ emails, likely espionage and more are all wrapped up in this case that involves data from 40 or more Democratic members of Congress.
Sources tell me that the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force has been looking into this matter since well before Awan and his crew of Pakistani congressional IT aides were booted off the House computer network in February 2017.
Sources also say that investigators were particularly interested in whether anyone else in the congressional offices that all of these IT aides worked for was involved in alleged improper activity. This might include Rep. Wasserman Schultz, who was the Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair when she employed Awan. It might also include former Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., who employed Awan when Becerra was chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. Becerra is now California attorney general.
“The House Office of Inspector General tracked the Awans network usage and found that a massive amount of data was flowing from the (congressional) networks,” said Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa. “Over 5,700 logins by the five Awan associates were discovered on a single server within the House, the server of the Democratic Caucus Chairman, then Rep. Xavier Becerra of California. Up to 40 or more members of Congress had all of their data moved out their office servers and onto the Becerra server without their knowledge or consent.”
Becerra left Congress in January 2017. Before he left, Capitol Police wanted a copy of the caucus server’s contents.
Becerra presumably told Imran Awan that Capitol Police wanted a copy of the server. What is known is that Awan did produce a copy of a server’s data for Capitol Police; however, after taking a look at the data they were provided, Capitol Police determined they were given a copy of data from some other server instead.
“Capitol Police found that the image (the copy of the server contents) they were supplied was false,” said Rep. Perry, quoting a report from the House Office of Inspector General.
So the Awans had access to – in fact, were copying – all the emails, personal schedules and other data from the Democrats they worked for to this server and, according to other reports, a Dropbox account.
Imran Awan was also going back to Pakistan for long stays and, in fact, at times worked remotely from Pakistan. This is where the case leads to possible espionage.
Meanwhile, court hearings on the alleged bank fraud Imran Awan and Hina Alvi have been charged with have been delayed again and again. The last hearing took place in October 2017.
The delays came as Department of Justice prosecutors and defense attorneys have been fighting it out over a laptop found in a cubbyhole (what was once a phone booth) in congressional office building that has the username “REPDWS” (a computer used by mran Awan that is the property of Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s office).
What’s on this computer we can only surmise, but it is clear that Wasserman Schultz wants the evidence kept out of court. She even publicly threatened the chief of the Capitol Police with “consequences” if the laptop wasn’t returned.
Meanwhile, a House Office of Inspector General investigation determined that Awan and his crew (none of whom underwent background checks to gain the IT positions they held in Congress) committed numerous violations of House security policies.
There is a lot more to come from this explosive case. Before this plea agreement hearing was set the biggest worry was that the government’s odd failure to prosecute Awan for alleged thefts of government equipment (some of which were found in a garage of one of Awan’s rental properties) and the many alleged national security violations pointed to a political cover-up.
Now it appears the plot is set for a riveting climax.
(Frank Miniter is author of “The Future of the Gun” & “The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide”. His latest book is, is “Kill Big Brother”, a cyber-thriller that shows how to balance freedom with security without diminishing the U.S. Bill of Rights.)
As you can see this is explosive new material, and it is an amazing follow-up from what we had learned in the past. We must thank Frank Miniter for his amazing report.
Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller has done some amazing investigative work on this story, and there are several reports I would like to quote here. They are of the utmost importance in this case.
Former Democratic IT aides Imran, Abid and Jamal Awan are suspected of committing a cyber-breach and theft on Congress. While the investigation continues, a potential witness in the case said Abid stole nearly $6,000 from a bank account she controls. Her email account is being accessed by third parties, and Abid’s attorney knew she emailed the FBI on specific dates.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan refused to answer a question about Imran Awan — who President Donald Trump dubbed as the “Pakistani Mystery Man” — when asked in a press conference Thursday.
When The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Luke Rosiak asked why Awan has not been arrested for what a House Inspector General investigation called “unauthorized access” to congressional servers, Ryan, acknowledged he knew about Awan, but said he would not comment on an ongoing investigation.
“Well this is an ongoing police investigation so I don’t want to get into the details of a police investigation,” Ryan said.
A lawyer for former Democratic IT aide Abid Awan grilled a witness to find out what she told federal investigators. He wanted to know if FBI agents asked her whether his client’s brother was involved in “radical Islamic activities.” An investigation found Awan and his brothers made “unauthorized access” to congressional servers.
Pay records show the Awans and a few friends drew $5 million in congressional pay since 2009, The DCNF previously reported. Republican officials close to the investigation say that, in addition to the cybersecurity issues, they believe the brothers conducted a multi-million dollar “ghost employee” scheme in which no-show relatives, and one friend, were placed on the House payroll.
Democrats have refused to say whether they ever saw some of their purported IT aides, such as Rao Abbas — a former McDonald’s worker who was added to the payroll of Reps. Emanuel Cleaver and Theodore Deutch shortly after court filings showed that Abid owed him money. Now-Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana also placed the Awan father on his payroll as an IT aide.
The FBI interviewed Gilani seemingly not only because of her personal knowledge of the suspects, but because the father’s death and the looming House investigation coincided with a sudden scramble for control of assets in Pakistan. Sources including relatives of the Awan family have told The DCNF that Imran was storing sizable assets there, in part through a company called Al Moeen Associates, which owns a major real estate development. Incorporation paperwork obtained by TheDCNF in Pakistan shows Gilani was a 10 percent owner of Al Moeen, as was Abid, while the father owned 70 percent.
A police report shows that Gilani said the brothers prohibited her from visiting her husband on his deathbed. A distant relative who visited him on his deathbed, Nasir Akhtar, told TheDCNF that Imran said — in front of his father — that Gilani had not bothered to come because she was “busy writing a book,” a reason Akhtar remembered finding unlikely. She said when the Awans first came to the US, they had no assets.
I want to link the actual document in which testimony was given against the Awans. It is compelling, and if you should have time, I hope you look over it.
Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller makes this possible.
I also want to include an excerpt to one of the articles I did for IWB on the Awans –
‘In case you do not realize how drastic of a situation this was, I am going to go back in time to review a little of the Awan history.
The Awan brothers were Pakistani IT specialists, whom worked for more than 30 house and senate democrats, as well as Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The substantial scandal has raised questions about who may have been passed data which the Awans had access to, given Pakistan’s history of collaborating with a number of foreign countries who have demonstrated past willingness to influence U.S. politics.
Imran was first employed in 2004 by former Democrat Rep. Robert Wexler (FL) as an “information technology director”, before he began working in Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s office in 2005.
The family was paid extremely well, with Imran Awan being paid nearly $2 million working as an IT support staffer for House Democrats since 2004. Abid Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, were each paid more than $1 million working for House Democrats. In total, since 2003, the family has collected nearly $5 million.
The staffer’s services were so important to congressional members, that on March 22, 2016, eight democrat members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence issued a letter, requesting that their staffers be granted access to Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI). Of those that signed the letter were representatives Jackie Speier (CA) and Andre Carson (IN), the second Muslim in Congress, both of whom employed the Awan brothers.
The brothers were also employed by members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, such as: Jackie Speier (D-CA), Andre Carson (D-IN), Joaquín Castro (D-TX), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Robin Kelly (D-IL), and Ted Lieu (D-CA). Lieu has since openly called for leaks by members of President Trump’s administration despite the fact that he may until recently have been under surveillance by a foreign entity.
One bombshell that has been all but ignored by the main stream media is that Imran Awan had access to Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s iPad password, meaning that the brothers also had direct access to the notorious DNC emails.
The brothers are accused of removing hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment from congressional offices, including computers and servers, while also running a procurement scheme in which they bought equipment, then overcharged the House administrative office that assigns such contractors to members.
Some congressional technology aides believe that the Awan’s are blackmailing representatives based on the contents of their emails and files, due to the fact that these representatives have displayed unwavering and intense loyalty towards the former aides.
For example, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), once named one of the most corrupt members of Congress, had at one time or another employed each of the brothers has stated that they were being “falsely targeted because they are Muslims, some with ties to Pakistan.”
According to Pat Sower, who has managed IT services for several members of Congress, something is amiss: “There’s no question about it: If I was accused of a tenth of what these guys are accused of, they’d take me out in handcuffs that same day, and I’d never work again.”
On February 20th, 2017, the Daily Caller reported that investigators found that congressional information was being copied to an off-site server, implying that the brothers were improperly accessing information and stealing congressional property.
According to one congressional staffer, the Awan’s set up a remote access so they could connect from wherever they are, and have full access to everything on the member’s system.
Despite being ordered by Capitol police that he was no longer to come near House servers, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) has kept Imran, whom is the suspect in a major criminal investigation, on in an “advisory position” in order to get around police orders.
WHY SHOULD WE WORRY? –
The apparent infiltration of DNC politicians and government systems by the Awan brothers is significant given Pakistan’s strategic ties to other countries who have also attempted to wield influence in the U.S. The United States and China both have a long history operating in Pakistan for various purposes such as political influence and trade. Diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks show that the United States began a concerted drive to use Pakistan’s mountainous western regions as a springboard for training and deploying mujahideen groups which the U.S. would use to further policy objectives around the Middle East.
Former President Barack Obama also has some past ties to Pakistan. During the 2008 Presidential election, it was reported that President Barrack Obama had taken a trip to Pakistan in 1981. During this trip, Obama stayed with his college friend Ali Hasan Chandoo. The Chandios are considered to be the largest landlords in the Sindh province of Pakistan. Hasan also donated $50,000 – $100,000 to Obama’s 2012 Presidential campaign.
The Barack H. Obama Foundation was founded in 2008 at the home of Alton Ray Baysden. A former Special Agent for the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Baysden has also previously served as a Counselor with the U.S. Embassies in Haiti, Pakistan, Syria, and the Ivory Coast.
As a regional superpower and one of the main competitors to the United States, China has increasingly competed with American interests for influence in the country. According to China Daily, economic cooperation between the two countries increased substantially after China re established ties to the United States in 1979. China and Pakistan have recently begun to collaborate on a number of infrastructure projects, development of nuclear capabilities and military collaboration which would include the deployment of Chinese troops in Pakistan.
China has also begun to boost Pakistani claims regarding sovereignty and territorial integrity as a part of its drive to develop the “One Belt, One Road” project which is a cornerstone of President Xi Jinping’s strategy to rival the United States as a superpower. On May 9th, 2017, Indian news source The Economic Times reported that India was contesting renewed Chinese claims that Pakistan’s claims to the regions to Jammu and Kashmir were not final and should be renegotiated.
Pakistan also maintains close ties with countries who have a history of attempting to influence U.S. policy and politics such as Israel and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has a long history of collaboration with Pakistan, especially in military affairs. The country also gave considerable financial backing to the Clinton Foundation, a matter which generated significant controversy during the 2016 presidential election.
Despite officially frosty relations between Israel and Pakistan, the two countries have routinely collaborated together in the past. Pakistani news source the Daily Times has noted that this cooperation began during the Soviet war in Afghanistan and continues to this day. In 2010, Wikileaks cables revealed that Pakistan’s ISI and Israel routinely collaborate on matters relating to terrorism. It was also alleged in 2013 that Israel provided Pakistan with high tech defense equipment which was acquired via the United Kingdom. Like Saudi Arabia, Israel has similarly been criticized by academics and observers for using it’s influence in the United States to formulate U.S. foreign and domestic policy.
The close ties that Pakistan maintains to countries which have a history of meddling in U.S. affairs creates concerns about where the data which the Awan brothers had access to might have ultimately ended up. The Awans ties to terror groups similarly indicate that the security breach may have resulted in information being passed directly to extremists.
In conclusion, this is a big catch for the FBI. We need to stay on top of it, as Imran Awan is the leader of the group. Although mainstream media has chosen not to report on it, I hope all you here at IWB know what a really big deal this is. Imran knows the dirt on the Clintons and so much more.
Streamed live 2 hours ago
Former DNC IT staffer Imran Awan, who worked under DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz, was arrested on bank fraud charges today (July 25, 2017) while trying to flee the United States. This arrest comes just hours after reports the FBI has seized smashed hard drives from Debbie Wasserman-Shultz IT Aide’s home. This comes as the FBI has reportedly joined the Capitol Police criminal probe into “serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network” by Imran Awan the longtime IT aide to the former DNC chairwoman, who had access to the emails and files of the more than two dozen House Democrats who employed them.
These events also take place amidst an ongoing fraud suit against the Democratic National Committee, where laywers say both Seth Rich and Shawn Lucas may have been potential witnesses in the case. The lawyers in the fraud suit also say they fear they may targeted for taking on the DNC, they asked the court for protection this week, citing the suspicious deaths of Seth Rich and Shawn Lucas, deaths which many believe were prompted by the DNC to avoid exposing corruption within the organization. A number of other recent developments have added to suspicions against the DNC. including an attempted court break-in by “fake” federal agents in the same district, numerous threatening phone calls against the lawyers, and other unexplained events related to the case.’
In conclusion, I think this will bring you up-to-date on the Awan spy scandal. I believe there is hope that we may finally find justice in the worst scandal in the history of the United States. We deserve to know the full story, and anyone in government who looked the other way while National security was at risk deserves to be recognized and dismissed.