By: Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg |
Today’s post is a little different than most, and highlights the very strange case of a few Democratic IT Staffers who have apparently fled to Pakistan while under investigation. If what The Daily Caller reported yesterday is accurate, it’s certainly something to keep your eye on.
First a little background. Politico reported the following back in March.
Two House Democrats this week fired technology staffers linked to an ongoing criminal investigation, more than a month after the couple in question was barred from House computer networks.
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) confirmed to Politico that Hina Alvi’s last day as an IT support staffer in his office was Tuesday. Her husband, Imran Awan, was working for Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) as of Tuesday evening, but a spokeswoman for Fudge said midday Wednesday that Awan was no longer an employee.
As of Wednesday, Awan was still working as a technology adviser for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), although he’s been blocked from accessing the House computer system since early February.
Alvi, Awan and three other House aides, including Abid Awan and Jamal Awan, relatives of Imran Awan, and Rao Abbas, are all linked to the criminal investigation being conducted by the U.S. Capitol Police.
The five current and former House staffers are accused of stealing equipment from members’ offices without their knowledge and committing serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the probe.
Awan made nearly $2 million since starting as an IT support staffer for House Democrats in 2004, according to public salary data. Alvi, who worked for House Democrats beginning in 2007, earned more than $1.3 million as an IT staffer during that time.
As shared employees, Awan, Alvi and their relatives worked for dozens of House Democrats at a time, meaning no one lawmaker was responsible for paying their full salary.
With that out of the way, here’s some of what The Daily Caller reported yesterday:
A criminal suspect in an investigation into a major security breach on the House of Representatives computer network has abruptly left the country and gone to Pakistan, where her family has significant assets and VIP-level protection, a relative and others told The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group.
Hina Alvi, her husband Imran Awan, and his brothers Abid and Jamal were highly paid shared IT administrators working for multiple House Democrats until their access to congressional IT systems was terminated Feb. 2 as a result of the investigation. Capitol Police confirmed the investigation is ongoing, but no arrests have been reported in the case.
The Awans are “accused of stealing equipment from members’ offices without their knowledge and committing serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network,” according to Politico. Many of the Democrats who employed the Awans are members of the House Committee on Homeland Security, the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. (A list of potentially compromised members is listed below.)
Their positions gave them access to members’ emails and confidential files. In addition, Imran was given the password for an iPad used by then-Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida Democrat. The five came to the U.S. from Pakistan.
Since the investigation became public, the Awans have abruptly moved from longtime homes in Lorton and Springfield, Va.
Imran and Hina recently withdrew their children from their schools, according to members of the Holly Elementary and Lorton Station Middle school communities. Multiple people said Hina told them she was headed to Pakistan where the family has significant property.
Real estate records show Hina listed both the Lorton house and an apartment she owns for sale.
“I came to know from one of their relatives that Hina Alvi and her daughters are moved to Pakistan, Hina Alvi saying ‘we have moved here in Pakistan permanently,’” the Awans’ stepmother, Samina Gilani, told TheDCNF.
Two other sources close to the family, who requested anonymity because they believe it is a “national security issue,” also said that Hina has gone to Pakistan.
Gilani said in court documents the Awan brothers have convinced Pakistani officials that they are VIPs and travel the country with a police motorcade — an assertion that seemingly gives them a major incentive to seek protection there, as well as raising questions about how the computer jockeys obtained that status.
Imran, who has worked for Wasserman Schultz since 2005, “boasted he had many contacts in USA and Pakistan also. He also said that if [I called even] the whole United States police on them,” he would not face consequences, Gilani told TheDCNF. “Imran Awan threatened that he is very powerful” and would use that power to have people kidnapped in Pakistan, she said in court documents.
I’m not sure what to make of this, or if all of the above is even true, but the entire saga seems like something we should be aware of.
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