An alert reader brought our attention to an ongoing Beltway scandal involving Pakistani House committee staffers suspected of massive cybersecurity breaches into congressional computers — one of whom was on U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette’s payroll and had access to her data.
The Daily Caller is pretty much the only media outlet still following the story about Imran Awan, who worked for DeGette from 2009 through 2016 as well as a dozen other Democratic staffers on key panels including Intelligence.
Awan as well as his brothers Abid and Jamal are under criminal investigation by U.S. Capitol Police on suspicion they abused their administrator-level access to sensitive congressional data and were fired in February.
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 and documents, including those related to the war on terrorism.
Also among those whose computer systems may have been compromised is Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida Democrat who was previously the target of a disastrous email hack when she served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 campaign.
The Daily Caller reached out to DeGette’s office a few weeks ago for comment, but got none. That was when the website reported that Awan allegedly threatened to have his Pakistani relatives kidnapped if his stepmother cooperated with the investigation.
The story turned even more bizarre this week when Wasserman Schultz threatened the chief of the U.S. Capitol Police with “consequences” for confiscating her equipment in the probe.
Actually, it was the computer used by Awan, that police found in a “crevice” of another congressional office building where he didn’t work.
The Florida lawmaker used her position on the committee that sets the police force’s budget to press its chief to relinquish the piece of evidence Thursday, in what could be considered using her authority to attempt to interfere with a criminal investigation.
The investigation is examining members’ data leaving the network and how Awan managed to get Members to place three relatives and a friend into largely no-show positions on their payrolls, billing $4 million since 2010.
We would actually like to know the answers to that, too.
Not much is being reported in Colorado on the probe. Certainly the media will want to jump on it now to ask DeGette what information in her computer might have compromised, like the personal information of her constituents.