Monday, May 22

Update on Pakistani computer specialists who worked for 20 Democrats in congress but were fired for...what?

Imran Awan and three relatives were computer specialists for as many as 20 Democrat congresscritters, including former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, New York's Gregory Meeks, and Marcia Fudge of Ohio.

Last year the brothers were accused of stealing computers and accessing congressional computers without permission.  Capitol police banned them from congressional computer networks. The ban on the Pakistani crew sent 20 Democrat members of congress searching for new IT specialists.

Now other congressional computer-technology specialists are baffled that data-theft allegations against the four Pakistani brothers have largely been ignored, and say they fear the integrity of sensitive high-level information.

Imran Awan began working for Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida in 2005.  Soon after that his wife, his brother’s wife and two of his brothers appeared on the payroll of various House Democrats shortly thereafter.

On March 1st of this year even Democrat-shill site Politico --which normally ignores scandals involving Democrats--reported the Awan crew is “accused of stealing equipment from congressional offices.”  And more:
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.
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.
Awan, [wife] Alvi and their relatives worked for dozens of House Democrats at a time, meaning no one lawmaker was responsible for paying their full salary.
Sources close to the House investigation said the former staffers, while able to view some member data, did not have access to any classified information.
Five congressional technology aides now say some members of Congress "have displayed an inexplicable, intense loyalty towards the suspects."  The tech aides speculate the suspects could be blackmailing the Democrat representatives because they presumably have copies of the Dems' emails and files, to which they had full access as "administrators" for each office's computer system.

“I don’t know what they have, but they have something on someone. It’s been months at this point” with no arrests, said Pat Sowers, who has managed IT for several House offices for 12 years. “Something is rotten.”

A manager at a tech-services company that works with Democratic House offices said he approached congressional offices, offering his company's services at one-fourth the price of Awan and his Pakistani brothers, but the members declined.  He now suspects the Awans exerted some type of leverage over members.

After capitol cops banned the Pakistani crew, 20 Democrat members of congress began searching for new IT specialists.  A House IT specialist--who requested anonymity--said techs who have examined the computers in some of those offices found some computers were programmed to send all data to an offsite server--a violation of House policies.  And oddly, they found that staffers’ iPhones were all linked to a single non-government iTunes account.

For years it was widely known that Awan, and eventually his 20-year-old brother Jamal, did the bulk of the work for various offices, while no-show employees were listed on members’ staffs in order to collect additional $165,000 salaries, workers said. This circumvented a rule that prevents any one staffer from making more than members of Congress.
Members were fiercely protective of the brothers, despite reportedly shoddy work, and requests for computer help routinely ignored for weeks, all said.

“The number of offices [that hired the brothers] would definitely be suspicious," Sowers said.
One Democratic IT staffer said Awan “would only help the member — he’d tell me this — because staff come and go. There was one staffer whose computer was broken who said, ‘I’m not going to pay my invoices until you fix my computer,’ and Imran went to the member, and they fired [the staffer who complained] that day. Imran has that power.”
  An employee of a third private company with House IT office contracts, who like most of the others requested anonymity, said the Awans were used by more congressional offices than anyone."

The IT specialists are concerned that the Pakistanis had access to all emails dozens of members of Congress sent and received, as well as access any files members and their staff stored.

Court records show the brothers ran a side business that owed $100,000 to an Iranian fugitive who has been tied to Hezbollah, and their stepmother says they often send money to Pakistan.

Curiously, after the brothers were banned from congressional networks, Wasserman-Schultz re-hired Awan, but as an “advisor” rather than an IT specialist--apparently to get around the Capitol Police’s ban on the brothers.  Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge’s office told Politico a month after the ban that she had not fired Imran either.

Other IT techs reported that Wasserman-Schultz, Fudge, New York Democratic Reps. Gregory Meeks and Yvette Clarke, and the House Democratic Caucus office all encouraged newly-elected members to hire the brothers.

Another Democratic IT contractor said members “are saying 'don’t say anything, this will all blow over if we all don’t say anything.' The Awans “had [members] in their pocket.  A lot of members could go down over this.”

The mainstream media lie and spin endlessly, but when it comes to Democrat congresscritters using taxpayer money to hire shady characters, it's really hard to sanitize a dozen years of payroll records.

But I have a feeling they're working on how to solve that. 

Read the original (which seems a bit poorly-written) here.


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