Disastrous National Security Breach in U.S. Congress. Investigators determined that not only did the Awan clan have access to highly sensitive information, they set up an external server and copied information from Congressional computers to their off-site server, reportedly stealing documents, records, emails and other sensitive and classified information to the server under their sole control.
The Amal brothers had complete and direct access to information of three extremely sensitive committees: The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Homeland Security Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The access to the information they had, along with their known or suspected affiliations to such groups as Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood, has “shaken” government insiders with knowledge about the case.
Awan ran technology for multiple House Democrats, and soon four of his relatives—including brothers Abid and Jamal—appeared on the payroll of dozens of other members, collecting $4 million in taxpayer funds since 2010. Imran ran technology for Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz—who resigned as head of the Democratic National Committee after a disastrous email hack she blamed on Russians
Congressional IT staffers who are the subject of a criminal investigation into misusing their positions had full access to members’ “correspondence, emails, confidential files,” and there was almost no tracking of what they did, a former House technology worker said.
Imran Awan bullied central IT to bend the rules for him so there wouldn’t be a paper trail about the unusually high permissions he was requesting. And their actions were not logged, so members have no way of knowing what information they may have taken, the central IT employee said.
U.S. Capitol Police named him and his relatives as subjects of a criminal probe on Feb. 2, and banned them from the complex’s computer networks. But members of Congress for whom they worked have downplayed their access or publicly ignored the issue.
“They had access to everything. Correspondence, emails, confidential files—if it was stored on the member system, they had access to it,” the former House Information Resources technology worker with firsthand knowledge of Imran’s privileges told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Technology employees who work for members must initially get authority from House Information Resources, a component of the House’s chief administrative officer, which maintains campus-wide technology systems.
“There were some things—like access to the House email system that were totally controlled by the technicians at [House Information Resources]. In order for certain permissions to be granted, a form was required to ensure that there was a paper trail for the requested changes. Imran was constantly complaining that he had to go through this process and trying to get people to process his access requests without the proper forms. Some of the permissions he wanted would give him total access to the members’ stuff.”
“IT staff at [House Information Resources] can be tracked for every keystroke they make,” the worker said. But by comparison, “when these guys were granted access to the member’s computer systems there is no oversight or tracking of what they may be doing on the member’s system. For example they could make a copy of anything on the member’s computer system to a thumb drive or have it sent to a private server they had set up and no one would know.”
That raises questions about why members are so quick to brush off the seriousness of the investigation.