by WorldTribune Staff, April 2, 2018
All 44 House Democrats who hired a group of Pakistan-born IT aides suspected of gaining “unauthorized access” to congressional data apparently waived background checks on the aides, records show.
Court records show the background checks, which are recommended for “shared employees,” would have revealed numerous red flags on Imran Awan, his brothers Abid and Jamal, his wife Hina Alvi, and his friend Rao Abbas.
Imran Awan is under indictment for bank fraud, conspiracy and making false statements.
Related: Imran Awan hid secret server, backed up Democrats’ data on Dropbox, September 17, 2017
The Daily Caller on April 1 cited “a pair of closely-held reports” on the IT aides as saying “the shared employees have not been vetted (e.g. background check).”
Virginia court records show Imran Awan “was the subject of repeated calls to police by multiple women and had multiple misdemeanor convictions for driving offenses,” the Daily Caller report noted.
Also according to Virginia court records, Abid Awan was the subject of six lawsuits filed against him or a company he owned and had least three misdemeanor convictions including for DUI.
“If a screening had caught those, what officials say happened next might have been averted,” the Daily Caller report said.
According to a Sept. 20, 2016 report by the House inspector general, members of Awan’s group were logging into servers of House members they didn’t work for, logging in using congress members’ personal usernames, uploading data off the House network, and behaving in ways that suggested “nefarious purposes” and that “steps are being taken to conceal their activity.”
Imran Awan and his family members had the ability to read all the emails and files of 1 in 5 House Democrats, the IG’s report said. Following the IG’s report, police banned the suspects from the House network, but Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chief advocate for the IT aides, kept Imran Awan on staff.
He was in the building and in possession of a laptop with the username RepDWS months later, according to an April 6, 2017 police report.
The Daily Caller noted that “Wasserman Schultz and other Democrats have described cyber breaches in the strongest possible terms, such as ‘an act of war’ and ‘an assault on our democracy.’ But there is no indication Democrats put those concerns into practice when they entrusted the Pakistani dual citizens with their data, nor when suspicious activity was detected.”
The Awans’ employers also included Rep. Yvette Clarke of New York, who saw $120,000 in computer equipment disappear under Abid Awan’s watch but “wrote off” the taxpayer funds rather than make an issue of it, the Daily Caller reported, citing the IG report and multiple senior government officials.
The Daily Caller reported that it “reached out to all 44 members, and none disputed that they had not conducted a background check. Not a single one of the 44 would say which of their colleagues vouched for the Awans, nor stated what criteria they used to determine that it was prudent to give them access to all their data.”