He was banned from the network in February.
Ready for another bombshell in the case of a former IT aide to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)? Turns out that Imran Awan still has an active email account connected to Rep. André Carson (D-IN), even though he’s been banned from the network since the Capital police named him in an investigation concerning stolen equipment and breaching the House IT system.
Connection to Carson’s Office
Luke Rosiak at The Daily Caller reported:
Imran Awan’s still-active email address is linked to the name of a House staffer who specializes in intelligence and homeland security matters for Indiana Democratic Rep. André Carson. Court documents and emails obtained by TheDCNF show Awan used the address [email protected] in addition to his standard [email protected] account.
He and two of his Pakistani-born brothers, as well as his wife, are at the center of an FBI investigation over their IT work with dozens of Democratic congressional offices. Authorities shut down Awan’s standard email account Feb. 2, and he was arrested by the FBI at Dulles International Airport trying to board a flight to his native Pakistan on July 25.
The Daily Caller found that email “sent via Gmail fills in the name of the account-holder of 123 as Nathan Bennett.” The publication discovered Bennett’s LinkedIn profile, which states that “his individual legislative portfolio covers ‘national security and foreign affairs’ and includes work on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.”
Bennett works as chief of staff for Carson, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee and House Homeland Security Committee. He also holds the position of “ranking member of the House intelligence subcommittee on emerging threats, which oversees the Office of the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center and information-sharing programs.”
Carson also employed Awan. The Daily Caller continued:
Bennett, who is Carson’s deputy chief of staff, told TheDCNF he has no control over the 123 address. “However this happened, it was not with my consent or control,” he said in an email. “For the record, I do not, nor have I ever, had control of the [email protected] email account or any other account connected with Imran Awan or his family.” That could not be confirmed by the House’s chief administrative officer (CAO) because spokesman Dan Weiser has said “the CAO will not comment on matters pertaining to this ongoing investigation.”
Bennett’s response raises questions about whether Awan was misusing Carson’s office, access or staffers.
Jessica Gail, a spokeswoman for Carson, “declined to comment on Awan, or state whether the office is concerned he may have misused Bennett’s identity.” She also did not tell The Daily Caller if the office took extra security steps on its system after “Awan’s problems came to the attention of the office in September 2016.”
The Email Address
The Daily Caller also noted that Gail did show any “concern or surprise when contacted” about the email address. Bennett told the publication that “Gail had not even informed him of the details.”
She told The Daily Caller that any questions about the email address should go to the House Information Resources office:
Until last year, email addresses were created by individual offices, but now members have to request HIR to set up new addresses. Carson’s office is not showing any concern that an indicted IT guy apparently set up a secret email address using the name of his deputy chief of staff, who is also his top intelligence staffer, and that the account is still active. Since the account was still accepting emails as of Tuesday afternoon, it appears Carson’s office has not alerted anyone of the security vulnerability.
A Democratic IT aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of job concerns, told TheDCNF that Awan and Carson used to play video games together in Carson’s office, and that he had been teaching Carson a foreign language. Gail did not dispute either claim.
A landlord that filed a claim against Awan said that Awan gave him the [email protected] email address.”
A tenant that rented one of Awan’s houses said she contacted him via the 123 email address.
This should raise a few eyebrows because last week a report emerged that the authorities are now investigating whether Awan, his wife, and his two brothers, stole sensitive information and sold it to Pakistan and Russia. From The New York Post:
Investigators now suspect that sensitive US government data — possibly including classified information — could have been compromised and may have been sold to hostile foreign governments that could use it to blackmail members of Congress or even put their lives at risk.
“This is a massive, massive scandal,” a senior US official familiar with the widening probe told The Post.
The investigators know that Awan “had access to Wasserman Schultz’s e-mails at both Congress and the DNC, where he had been given the password to her iPad. After DNC e-mails and research files were stolen during the presidential election.”
The New York Post continued:
“It’s clear that large bytes of data were moved off the secure network,” said another source close to the investigation, adding that Awan and the other four staffers under investigation had “full and complete access” to lawmakers’ e-mails, calendars, schedules, hearing notes, meeting notes and memos and other sensitive information.
Investigators are trying to determine if any classified information was compromised. Although the network that was breached is an unclassified system, it’s possible that members or staff cleared to handle classified information inadvertently sent such information in e-mails after getting classified briefings, sources believe.
“Logic dictates that sensitive data was compromised,” the senior official speculated. “An accused criminal with close ties to Pakistan had full and complete control over data that went out over the network.”
In February, reports surfaced that four House employees face an investigation for breaching House IT systems and stealing equipment. Media named Hina, Abid, Imran, and Jamal in reports the following days. Lawmakers fired the four when the suspicions arose and barred the brothers “from computer networks at the House of Representatives.”
These IT workers could not produce the stolen equipment, which prompted firings. Wasserman Schultz decided to keep Awan on her payroll and changed his job title.
On July 23, the FBI seized destroyed hard drives from Awan’s home after a Marine Corps veteran and his Navy Officer wife discovered the items. The veteran described the equipment as “wireless routers, hard drives that look like they tried to destroy, laptops, [and] a lot of brand new expensive toner.”
Carson and Wasserman Schultz’s Loyalty to Awan
The news has mostly been on Wasserman Schultz because she did not fire Awan until authorities arrested him at Dulles Airport in July on bank fraud charges. He planned to fly to Pakistan, where his wife and daughters fled to in March, after he wired $300,000 to the country.
Turns out that it took awhile for Carson to fire Awan as well. From The Daily Caller:
Carson had employed Awan since 2015, and did not fire him when his office learned Awan was the subject of an investigation in September. He also did not fire Awan immediately after he was banned from the House computer network by Capitol Police in February. Of the 13 House Democrats who employed Awan, only two — Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Rep. Marcia Fudge — waited longer than Carson to fire him after the red flags emerged, payroll records show.
A grand jury indicted Awan and his wife on four counts even though she is already back in Pakistan with their daughters.
Authorities arrested Awan at Dulles airport in July, where he planned to fly to Pakistan after he wired almost $300,000 to the country. His arrest prompted Wasserman Schultz to finally fire him.
From Fox News:
Awan and other IT aides for House Democrats have been on investigators’ radar for months over concerns of possible double-billing, alleged equipment theft, and access to sensitive computer systems. Most lawmakers fired Awan in February, but Schultz had kept him on until his arrest in July.
The indictment itself, which merely represents formal charges and is not a finding of guilt, addresses separate allegations that Awan and his wife engaged in a conspiracy to obtain home equity lines of credit from the Congressional Federal Credit Union by giving false information about two properties – and then sending the proceeds to individuals in Pakistan.
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