by WorldTribune Staff, April 19, 2018
The father of Democratic House IT aide Imran Awan was tied to Pakistani intelligence and had transferred a USB drive to a Pakistani senator, according to a report.
Rashid Minhas, the ex-business partner of Awan’s father, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that “Imran Awan said to me directly these words: ‘See how I control White House on my fingertip…’ He say he can fire the prime minister or change the U.S. president. Why the claiming big stuff, I [didn’t] understand ’till now,” according to a Daily Caller report published on April 18.
Imran Awan, an IT aide to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other Democrats, provided a group of Pakistan-born IT aides “unauthorized access” to House servers, investigators have said.
Related: Despite red flags, 44 Democrats waived background checks on Pakistani-born Imran Awan, April 2, 2018
Minhas told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Haji Ashraf Awan had been giving data to Pakistani official Rehman Malik.
Asked how he knew this, Minhas said that on one occasion in 2008 when a “USB [was] given to Rehman Malik by Imran’s father, my brother Abdul Razzaq was with his father. After Imran’s father deliver (sic) USB to Rehman Malik, four Pakistani [government intelligence] agents were with his father 24-hour on duty to protect him.”
Minhas did not say what was on the USB. Imran Awan began working for House Democrats in 2004.
“I was Imran father’s partner in Pakistan,” Minhas said, in two land deals in Pakistan so big that they are often referred to as “towns.” In 2009, both men were accused of fraud, and Haji was arrested but then released after Imran flew to Pakistan, “allegedly… exerting pressure on the local police through the ministry as well as the department concerned,” the Daily Caller report noted, citing local Pakistani news reports.
Minhas and multiple alleged victims in Pakistan also told the Daily Caller than Imran Awan “exerted political influence in Pakistan to extricate his father from the case.”
Minhas, who is now in U.S. federal prison for additional fraud, said the Department of Justice and FBI never interviewed him about the Awans, “an indicator the potential for espionage may not have been explored extensively,” the Daily Caller report said.
The Daily Caller noted that its reporters “traveled to Pakistan for this story and interviewed numerous residents who interacted with Imran, and they confirmed that he does travel that country with a contingent of armed Pakistani government officials and routinely brags about mysterious political power.”
The House Office of Inspector General charged on Sept. 30, 2016 that data was being funneled off the House network by Imran Awan and his family members as recently as September 2016.
The inspector general, Michael Ptasienski, testified this month that “system administrators hold the ‘keys to the kingdom’ meaning they can create accounts, grant access, view, download, update, or delete almost any electronic information within an office. Because of this high-level access, a rogue system administrator could inflict considerable damage.”