Zero Hedge says they are Pakistani “Americans” but others say they are Pakistani nationals, not American citizens.
A month ago, three Muslim
American brothers who managed office IT were barred from congressional computers (on suspicion that they accessed computers without permission). While many congressmen immediately relieved them of their duties, two House Democrats decided to delay the firing (until today) because their Muslim background, some with ties to Pakistan, could make them easy targets for false charges.
As we previously reported, the three brothers (Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan) who managed office IT for members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and other lawmakers were barred from computer networks at the House of Representatives Thursday, The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has learned.
Three members of the intelligence panel and five members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs were among the dozens of members who employed the suspects on a shared basis. The two committees deal with many of the nation’s most sensitive issues, information and documents, including those related to the war on terrorism.
The brothers are suspected of serious violations, including accessing members’ computer networks without their knowledge and stealing equipment from Congress.
The three men are “shared employees,” meaning they are hired by multiple offices, which split their salaries and use them as needed for IT services. It is up to each member to fire them from working…
While many congressmen did fire them immediately (and barred them from congressional systems), Politico reports that, one month after being barred from congressional systems, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) have finally fired the IT staff…
Meeks said he isn’t convinced Alvi and Imran Awan, both of whom worked in his office at different times, are involved in the alleged procurement scam but that Alvi was dismissed because the investigation was interrupting the day-to-day functions of his office.
“As of right now, I don’t see a smoking gun,” Meeks said. “I have seen no evidence that they were doing anything that was nefarious.”
Meeks said he was hesitant to believe the accusations against Alvi, Imran Awan and the three other staffers, saying their background as Muslim Americans, some with ties to Pakistan, could make them easy targets for false charges.
“I wanted to be sure individuals are not being singled out because of their nationalities or their religion. We want to make sure everybody is entitled to due process,” Meeks said.
“They had provided great service for me. And there were certain times in which they had permission by me, if it was Hina or someone else, to access some of my data.”
Fudge told Politico on Tuesday she would employ Imran Awan until he received “due process.”
“He needs to have a hearing. Due process is very simple. You don’t fire someone until you talk to them,” Fudge said.
On Wednesday, Lauren Williams, a spokeswoman for Fudge, wouldn’t provide details about Imran Awan’s firing but did confirm he was still employed in Fudge’s office as of Tuesday afternoon.
The bottom line is simple – these House Democrats decided it was better to be at risk of hacking and extortion than to be accused of racism.
And just for good measure, Politico reports that Awan has long-standing relationships with Meeks, Wasserman Schultz and Fudge. Meeks was one of the first lawmakers Awan worked for after coming to Capitol Hill in 2004. He joined Wasserman Schultz’s office in 2005 and started working for Fudge in 2008. In addition, Meeks and, to a larger extent, Wasserman Schultz, are said to have a friendly personal relationship with Awan and his wife, according to multiple sources.
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.
Since 2003, the family has collected $5 million overall, with Imran making $2 million and Abid making $1.5 million, according to Legistorm.com, which tracks congressional staff data. Of some 25,000 people who have worked in the House since 2010, only 100 have taken home more than Imran.
As “shared” employees, their salaries were cobbled together with part-time payments from multiple members, with a result that the Awans appeared at one time or another on an estimated 80 House Democrats’ payrolls.
Yet the brothers spent significant time in Pakistan, TheDCNF was told. They even had time beginning in 2009 to operate a Northern Virginia car dealership, with Abid as its day-to-day manager. The dealership received a $100,000 loan that was never repaid from Dr. Ali Al-Attar, a onetime Iraqi politician who fled the U.S. on tax charges and who reportedly has links to the terrorist group Hezbollah.
The suspects had full access to the emails and office computer files of the members for whom they worked. A focus of the investigation by the U.S. Capitol Police is an off-site server on which congressional data was allegedly loaded without the knowledge of authorities.
The interactive graphic below shows the sources of the Awans’ congressional income.
They also suspect Imran of stealing money and equipment. Soon after he joined Wasserman Schultz’s congressional payroll in 2005, four of his relatives and one of his friends began getting paid by House members. It is not clear whether ghost employees are part of the theft being investigated, but the family collected a combined $5 million.
Over the last six years, the individuals in question worked for some 80 members of Congress, all Democrats, including members of the homeland security, foreign affairs and intelligence committees. They worked for multiple members at once, since the offices did not require full-time IT services.
Daily Caller has much more – but the media is ignoring what should be a MAJOR story:
A Continuing DCNF Investigative Group Series
- House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs Committee Members Compromised By Rogue IT Staff
House computer staffers targets of criminal probe
- Congress IT Probe Suspects Had Massive Debts, Years Of Suspicious Activity
Debts, criminal records–and administrator-level access to the House computer networks
- House Dem IT Guys In Security Probe Secretly Took $100K In Iraqi Money
An “impossible” to make sense of LLC called “CIA”
- House Dem IT Staffers Owed Money To Hezbollah-Connected Fugitive
Iraqi politician Ali Al-Attar is wanted by U.S. for tax fraud
Again, it’s not clear they are U.S. citizens or Pakistani nationals, but they had top secret security clearance and access to classified U.S. information on three of the most sensitive committees in the House. A Youtube user has detailed much of this in a series of videos as well:
Separately, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) has been paving the way for terror-linked speakers to appear on Capitol Hill for years.
PS: Not the first Pakistani infiltration ring busted in D.C.