Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Pakistani ‘expert’ IT Imran Awan in fact is an agent of Inter Service Intelligence (ISI), the spy agency of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Democrat National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz and more than 40 Democrat members of the House of Representatives was neutralized this summer by a plea deal, which was a cover up. President Donald Trump on June 7, 2018 tweeted, “Our Justice Department must not let Awan [Imran Awan] & Debbie Wasserman Schultz off the hook. The Democrat IT scandal is a key to much of the corruption we see today. They want to make a “plea deal” to hide what is on their Server. Where is Server? Really bad!”
Finally a government watchdog group has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Justice seeking all records of communications relating to the investigation into the House IT scandal involving Imran Awan and his family. Judicial Watch said it is seeking “all records related to any investigations or preliminary investigations involving former congressional IT support staffers Abid Awan, Imran Awan, Jamal Awan, and Hina R. Alvi. As part of this request, searches should include, but not be limited to the FBI automated indices, its older manual indices, and it’s Electronic Surveillance (ELSUR) Data Management System (EDMS), as well as cross-referenced files.”
Imran Awan and his family members was banned from the House computer network in February 2017 after the House Inspector General wrote that Imran is “an ongoing and serious risk to the House of Representatives, possibly threatening the integrity of our information systems,” and that a server containing evidence had gone “missing.” The inspector general said server logs showed “unauthorized access” and procurement records were falsified.
On Aug. 17, 2017, a federal grand jury, convened in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, indicted Awan and his wife on four counts, including conspiracy, making false statements, bank fraud, and unlawful monetary transactions.
Imran Awan was allowed a plea deal on July 3, 2018. He pleaded guilty to federal bank fraud but prosecutors said they found no evidence that Awan “violated federal law with respect to the House computer systems.”
“It’s time for the full truth to come out about the House Democrat IT scandal, especially with impending change of power in the House,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “There is hope that the new leadership at the DOJ [Department of Justice] will bring transparency to this case, as well as many pending FOIA investigations.”
Imran Awan was Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s top information technology aide. Most lawmakers fired Awan, but Wasserman Schultz kept him on until he was arrested trying to board a flight for Pakistan.
“Just imagine what might come out if the 44 House members who’d employed Imran Awan or one of his associates had to testify in public hearings – something Republican House leadership opted not to have,” an American Spectator analysis said on October 17.
“What might come out if a real investigation took place and if charges were filed for the computer equipment missing from Congressional Offices – some of which was found in at least one home Awan rented? What if an ethics investigation did take place to find out why Wasserman Schultz kept paying Awan even after he’d been booted off the House network for giving false data (an image of a fake server) to Capitol Police?“
On Oct. 11, 2017, Judicial Watch’s Fitton participated in a discussion between House members and analysts regarding the Wasserman Schultz/Awan Brothers/IT scandal. During this discussion, Fitton stated,
“Frankly when it comes to crimes with a political component, I fear the Justice Department is going to fear to tread. And because of the political nature of what went on [with the Awan family] they’re not going to push the House … and I fear that the Justice Department will be fearful of raising these issues with the House for fear of embarrassing the leadership of both parties … and that’s something we need to push the Justice Department on. That they don’t under-charge or under-investigate this for fear of the consequences that will happen if they push further and find something that no one wants to find, which is a national security threat at our breast here in the House.”
The secret memo:
A secret memo from the top law enforcement official in Congress also said more than “40 House offices may have been victims of IT security violations,” The Daily Caller reported on July 2, 2017.
The memo, addressed to the Committee on House Administration (CHA) and dated February 3, 2017, was recently reviewed and transcribed by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Shortly after a report from the House Inspector General came out identifying the House Democratic Caucus server as key evidence in a criminal probe, the evidence was stolen, multiple sources connected to the investigation told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“They [the Awans] deliberately turned over a fake server” to falsify evidence, one official close to the CHA alleged. “It was a breach. The data was completely out of [members’] possession.”
In the memo, Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving, along with Chief Administrative Officer Phil Kiko, wrote, “We have concluded that the employees [Democratic systems administrator Imran Awan and his family] are an ongoing and serious risk to the House of Representatives, possibly threatening the integrity of our information systems and thereby members’ capacity to serve constituents.”
The memo “details how the caucus server, run by then-caucus Chairman Rep. Xavier Becerra, was secretly copied by authorities after the House Inspector General identified suspicious activity on it, but the Awans’ physical access was not blocked,” the report said.
The server “appears to have been secretly replaced with one that looked similar,” the report said.
The memo also called for firing the members of the Awan family working in the House IT department, revoking all their computer accounts, and changing the locks on any door they had access to.
Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican, said the missing server contained copies of Congress members’ emails.
“They put 40 members of Congress’s data on one server … That server, with that serial number, has disappeared,” he said.
The memo also itemizes “numerous and egregious violations of House IT security” by members of the Awan family, including using Congress members’ usernames and “the unauthorized storage of sensitive House information outside the House.”
“These employees accessed user accounts and computers for offices that did not employ them, without the knowledge and permission of the impacted Member’s office,” the memo said, adding, “4 of the employees accessed the Democratic Caucus computers 5,735 times.” More than 100 office computers were open to access from people not on the office’s staff, it said.
Aide of Hillary Clinton enters the show:
Chris Gowen – a former aide to Hillary Clinton who is now serving as Imran’s attorney – told the Daily Caller, “There is no missing server and never was.”
Gowen didn’t provide any support for his claim, which is contrary to evidence Kiko and Irving presented to Congress, the Daily Caller said.
Former House IT aide Imran Awan remains in a “High Intensity Supervision Program” as he awaits trial on charges of bank fraud. Official Washington, with the exception of President Donald Trump, seems oblivious to the man’s existence despite the fact that he was hired by former DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and enjoyed access to the digital records and emails of an alarming and still unspecified number of Democratic members of Congress.
No major media organizations are asking obvious questions about his role in the Trump investigation and his possible ties to the alleged hacking of Democratic National Committee data.
Meanwhile, the DNC continues to refuse the FBI access to servers related to Awan and the House IT scandal. Thus far, the DNC has only provided a report by private firm CrowdStrike to investigators.
Congressional data obtained by Awan and his associates could also become part of a court case filed by the DNC against the Trump campaign.
President Donald Trump said that, in response to the DNC’s lawsuit, his campaign would request the data.
“Just heard the Campaign was sued by the Obstructionist Democrats. This can be good news in that we will now counter for the DNC Server that they refused to give to the FBI, the Debbie Wasserman Schultz Servers and Documents held by the Pakistani mystery man and Clinton Emails,” Trump tweeted.
The Daily Caller’s Luke Rosiak, who has reported extensively on Awan and the IT scandal, even traveling to Pakistan for his reporting, said he sees the case as “everything the Russia collusion story was supposed to be.”
Rosiak, says that Awan took a laptop in 2017 after being banned from the House computer network for “unauthorized access to data.”
Rosiak wrote that Awan left the laptop, which had the username “RepDWS.”
“This is like straight out of James Bond,” Rosiak said on “Fox & Friends First”.
During a March 20 House Intelligence Committee hearing, then-FBI Director James Comey said the agency “never got direct access” to the DNC servers. Two months earlier, Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the FBI had made “multiple requests at different levels” to gain access to the devices for their investigations, but they ultimately needed to rely on a private company hired by the DNC to “share with us what they saw.”
He confirmed the FBI had requested and was denied access to both the DNC servers and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s personal devices.
A July 24, 2017, open memo from a group of former intelligence officers called Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) used forensic evidence to show the DNC emails were not hacked.
According to VIPS, the DNC files were downloaded from the DNC directly by someone using an external storage device, meaning the files were downloaded locally, by someone who was physically present at the DNC location.
The downloading took place in the early evening, from a location in the Eastern Daylight time zone, according to the researchers. It was carried out from a computer directly connected to the DNC server or DNC Local Area Network. The unknown individual “copied 1,976 megabytes of data in 87 seconds onto an external storage device,” according to VIPS.
Rosiak reported on May 21 that Awan allegedly threatened his stepmother not to talk to police, her email account was accessed in suspicious ways and a lawyer for one of Awan’s brothers found out she emailed the FBI on specific dates and charged – “You’re a liar, aren’t you?”
“Days after that, a bank account the stepmother controlled was almost completely drained through a payment to Imran’s brother, Abid Awan, bank records show – but she said she is too afraid to press criminal charges because she claims he has threatened her,” Rosiak wrote.
The stepmother, Samina Gilani, also previously said Imran stole two laptops from her.
Meanwhile, House IT aides have told The Daily Caller they have knowledge of misconduct but fear retaliation from Democrats if they come forward to law enforcement.
The father of Democratic House IT aide Imran Awan was tied to Pakistani intelligence and had transferred a USB drive to a Pakistani senator, according to a report.
Rashid Minhas, the ex-business partner of Awan’s father, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that “Imran Awan said to me directly these words, ‘See how I control White House on my fingertip…’ He said he can fire the prime minister or change the U.S. President. Why the claiming big stuff, I [didn’t] understand ’till now,” according to a Daily Caller report published on April 18.
Pakistani intelligence agency behind the episode:
Imran Awan, an IT aide to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other Democrats, provided a group of Pakistan-born IT aides “unauthorized access” to House servers, investigators have said.
Minhas told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Haji Ashraf Awan had been giving data to Pakistani official Rehman Malik.
Asked how he knew this, Minhas said that on one occasion in 2008 when a “USB [was] given to Rehman Malik by Imran’s father, my brother Abdul Razzaq was with his father. After Imran’s father deliver USB to Rehman Malik, four Pakistani [government intelligence] agents were with his father 24-hour on duty to protect him.”
Minhas did not say what was on the USB. Imran Awan began working for House Democrats in 2004.
“I was Imran father’s partner in Pakistan in two land deals in Pakistan so big that they are often referred to as towns.”
In 2009, both men were accused of fraud, and Haji was arrested but then released after Imran flew to Pakistan, “allegedly… exerting pressure on the local police through the ministry as well as the department concerned,” the Daily Caller report noted, citing local Pakistani news reports.
Minhas and multiple alleged victims in Pakistan also told the Daily Caller than Imran Awan “exerted political influence in Pakistan to extricate his father from the case.”
Minhas, who is now in U.S. federal prison for additional fraud, said the Department of Justice and FBI never interviewed him about the Awans, “an indicator the potential for espionage may not have been explored extensively,” the Daily Caller report said.
The Daily Caller noted that its reporters “traveled to Pakistan for this story and interviewed numerous residents who interacted with Imran, and they confirmed that he does travel that country with a contingent of armed Pakistani government officials and routinely brags about mysterious political power.”
The House Office of Inspector General charged on September 30, 2016 that data was being funneled off the House network by Imran Awan and his family members as recently as September 2016.
The inspector general, Michael Ptasienski, testified that “system administrators hold the ‘keys to the kingdom’ meaning they can create accounts, grant access, view, download, update, or delete almost any electronic information within an office. Because of this high-level access, a rogue system administrator could inflict considerable damage.”
All 44 House Democrats who hired this group of Pakistan-born IT aides suspected of gaining “unauthorized access” to congressional data apparently waived background checks on the aides, records show.
Court records show the background checks, which are recommended for “shared employees,” would have revealed numerous red flags on Imran Awan, his brothers Abid and Jamal, his wife Hina Alvi, and his friend Rao Abbas.
Imran Awan is under indictment for bank fraud, conspiracy and making false statements.
The Daily Caller on April 1 cited “a pair of closely-held reports” on the IT aides as saying “the shared employees have not been vetted (e.g. background check).”
Virginia court records show Imran Awan “was the subject of repeated calls to police by multiple women and had multiple misdemeanor convictions for driving offenses,” the Daily Caller report noted.
Also according to Virginia court records, Abid Awan was the subject of six lawsuits filed against him or a company he owned and had least three misdemeanor convictions including for DUI.
“If a screening had caught those, what officials say happened next might have been averted,” the Daily Caller report said.
According to a September 20, 2016 report by the House inspector general, members of Awan’s group were logging into servers of House members they didn’t work for, logging in using congress members’ personal usernames, uploading data off the House network, and behaving in ways that suggested “nefarious purposes” and that “steps are being taken to conceal their activity.”
Imran Awan and his family members had the ability to read all the emails and files of 1 in 5 House Democrats, the IG’s report said. Following the IG’s report, police banned the suspects from the House network, but Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chief advocate for the IT aides, kept Imran Awan on staff.
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 Daily Caller noted that “Wasserman Schultz and other Democrats have described cyber breaches in the strongest possible terms, such as ‘an act of war’ and ‘an assault on our democracy.’ 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.”
The Awans’ employers also included Rep. Yvette Clarke of New York, who saw $120,000 in computer equipment disappear under Abid Awan’s watch but “wrote off” the taxpayer funds rather than make an issue of it, the Daily Caller reported, citing the IG report and multiple senior government officials.
The Daily Caller reported that it “reached out to all 44 members, and none disputed that they had not conducted a background check. Not a single one of the 44 would say which of their colleagues vouched for the Awans, nor stated what criteria they used to determine that it was prudent to give them access to all their data.”
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is the Editor of Blitz. Follow him on Twitter: @salah_shoaib.