House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs Committee Members Compromised By Rogue IT Staff
– Daily Caller | Luke Rosiak
“Three brothers who managed office information technology for members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and other lawmakers were abruptly relieved of their duties on suspicion that they accessed congressional computers without permission.
Brothers Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan were barred from computer networks at the House of Representatives Thursday, The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has learned.
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 brothers are suspected of serious violations, including accessing members’ computer networks without their knowledge and stealing equipment from Congress.
Jamal handled IT for Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Texas Democrat who serves on both the intelligence and foreign affairs panels.
“As of 2/2, his employment with our office has been terminated,” Castro spokeswoman Erin Hatch told TheDCNF Friday.
Jamal also worked for Louisiana Democrat Rep. Cedric Richmond, who is on the Committee on Homeland Security.
Imran worked for Reps. Andre Carson, an Indiana Democrat, and Jackie Speier, a California Democrat. Both are members of the intelligence committee, and their spokesmen did not respond to TheDCNF’s requests for comment. Imran also worked for the House office of Wasserman Schultz.
Then-Rep. Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat, employed Abid for IT work in 2016. She was a member of House committees dealing with the armed services, oversight, and Benghazi. Duckworth was elected to the Senate in November, 2016. Abid has a prior criminal record and a bankruptcy.
Abid also worked for Rep. Lois Frankel, a Florida Democrat who is member of the foreign affairs committee.
The three men are “shared employees,” meaning they are hired by multiple offices, which split their salaries and use them as needed for IT services. It is up to each member to fire them.
A criminal investigation into five unnamed people began late last year related to serious and potentially illegal violations of House IT policies, Politico reported Thursday. Chiefs of staff for the members were briefed Thursday by the Sergeant-at-Arms.
Abid, Imran and Jamal have all shared a house in Lorton, Virginia, that is owned by Hina R. Alvi. Alvi is a female House IT employee who works for many of the same members as the three brothers, as well as the House Democratic Caucus.
Signs of trouble have long been visible in public records. The Congressional Credit Union repossessed Abid’s car in 2009, and he declared bankruptcy in 2012, facing multiple lawsuits.
Alvi, who did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment, has taken multiple second mortgages.
Security-sensitive jobs typically require background checks for credit and legal problems that can create pressures to cash in on access to secret information and documents.
Jack Langer, spokesman for the intelligence committee, said the committee office has its own IT staff and security measures and classified information from the panel is not allowed to be sent to members’ personal offices.”
….Continue reading more @ Daily Caller
A MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD SECURITY BREACH IN CONGRESS
Last year, eight members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence issued a demand that their staffers be granted access to top secret classified information.
The signatories to the letter were Andre Carson, Luis Guiterez, Jim Himes, Terri Sewell, Jackie Speier, Mike Quigley, Eric Swalwell and Patrick Murphy. All the signatories were Democrats. Some had a history of attempting to undermine national security.
Two of them have been linked to an emerging security breach.
The office of Andre Carson, the second Muslim in Congress, had employed Imran Awan. As did the offices of Jackie Speier and Debbie Wasserman Schultz; to whom the letter had been addressed.
Imran Awan and his two brothers, Jamal and Abid, are at the center of an investigation that deals with, among other things, allegations of illegal access. They have been barred from the House of Representatives network.
A member of Congress expressed concern that, “they may have stolen data from us.”
All three of the Pakistani brothers had been employed by Democrats. The offices that employed them included HPSCI minority members Speier, Carson and Joaquín Castro. Congressman Castro, who also sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, utilized the services of Jamal Moiz Awan. Speier and Carson’s offices utilized Imran Awan.
Abid A. Awan was employed by Lois Frankel and Ted Lieu: members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Also on the committee is Castro. As is Robin Kelly whose office employed Jamal Awan. Lieu also sits on the subcommittees on National Security and Information Technology of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Tammy Duckworth’s office had also employed Abid. Before Duckworth successfully played on the sympathy of voters to become Senator Tammy Duckworth, she had been on the Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces of the Armed Services Committee.
Gwen Graham, who had also been on the Armed Services Committee and on the Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee, had employed Jamal Awan. Jamal was also employed by Cedric Richmond’s office. Richmond sits on the Committee on Homeland Security and on its Terrorism and Cybersecurity subcommittee. He is a ranking member of the latter subcommittee. Also employing Jamal was Mark Takano of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
Imran had worked for the office of John Sarbanes who sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee that oversees, among other things, the nuclear industry. Other members of the Committee employing the brothers included Yvette Clarke, who also sits on the Bipartisan Encryption Working Group, Diana DeGette, Dave Loebsack and Tony Cardenas.
But finally there’s Andre Carson.
Carson is the second Muslim in Congress and the first Muslim on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and, more critically, is the ranking member on its Emerging Threats Subcommittee. He is also a member of the Department of Defense Intelligence and Overhead Architecture Subcommittee.
The Emerging Threats Subcommittee, of which Carson is a ranking member, is responsible for much of counterterrorism oversight. It is the worst possible place for a man with Carson’s credentials.
Carson had inherited his grandmother’s seat and exploited it to promote a radical Islamist agenda. He has interfaced with a laundry list of Islamist groups from CAIR to ISNA to ICNA to MPAC. Islamists have funded Carson’s career to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. The Center for Security Policy has put together a dossier of Carson’s connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood is the parent organization of many key Islamic terror groups posing a threat to our national security including Al Qaeda and Hamas.
The most obvious lesson here is that security must be tightened. If Democrats refuse to take their responsibilities seriously, then President Trump must do it for them. Until the Awan case is resolved, those Democrats who employed them must have their access to classified material restricted.
Under no circumstances may the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence members who employed the Awan brothers be permitted to allow their staffers to gain access to classified material.
And Andre Carson must be forced to choose between his Islamist ties and his membership in the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Emerging Threats Subcommittee. No one should be allowed to have a foot in both the pro-terrorist and the counter-terrorist spheres of our society.”
….Continue reading more @ Frontpagemag.com
Dem IT Staffers Still Working While Under Criminal Investigation
– PJ Media
“At least two House IT staffers are reportedly under active criminal investigation by the U.S. Capitol Police for stealing equipment and data and remain employed Tuesday, amid mounting questions regarding how they were able to pass their background checks.
On Saturday, The Daily Caller reported that three brothers — Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan — were “abruptly relieved of their duties on suspicion that they accessed congressional computers without permission.” However, some are still working because, according to a report in Politico Monday, the brothers are “shared employees” — employees hired by multiple offices which use them as needed for IT services. Each office would need to fire them, and “multiple Democrat lawmakers” have not yet terminated the employment of each staffer.
The three brothers were barred from computer networks at the House of Representatives last Thursday, according to the Daily Caller.
According to Politico, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Rep. Gregory Meeks are two Democratic lawmakers who have not yet cut ties:
Imran Awan, a longtime House staffer who worked for more than two dozen Democrats since 2004, is still employed by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, though his access to the House IT network has been blocked since last week.
“At this time we are continuing to gather information from House officials and will determine the best approach to move forward once we have reviewed that information,” David Damron, communications director for Wasserman Schultz, said in an email when asked by POLITICO if Awan was still working for the Florida Democrat.
Questions are mounting as to how they all were able to pass background checks considering their histories of financial troubles.
According to a congressional source on the Hill, the House passed a rule last year requiring all employees with access to IT to pass background checks in order to flag potential problems such as the credit and legal issues, the DCNF discovered. This congressional source told PJ Media that FBI background checks were applied to all IT employees retroactively. The only way around a background check would have been if a “hiring authority” in a congressional office had signed a waiver attesting to the “trustworthiness and judgment” of the privileged user.”
…..Continue reading more @ PJ Media
– Question: Why, given the national security implications, does Congress not have a secure in-house staff for information technology? Why are they using unvetted contractors?
Still worse, three brothers worked for multiple members of Congress, multiplying the chances for a security breach. Moreover the fact the several of the congress persons were on intelligence committees with access to national security secrets. This is very bad indeed. How could this possibly have been allowed to happen? /CJ
Mexican National Found Guilty of Illegal Voting
“A Texas jury convicted a Mexican national for the crime of “illegal voting” on Wednesday and was sentenced to eight years in prison. At trial, she claimed she did not know the difference between being a resident and a citizen.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Tarrant County officials put Rosa Maria Ortega to trial for voting in two Texas elections.
Texas legislators enacted the law in 2011 and it became effective on January 1, 2012.
Breitbart Texas reported that Ortega would face trial on Monday. The 37-year-old woman was indicted in November 2015.
Sgt. Cadwell, who interviewed Ortega at her home in October 2015 along with Sgt. Wayne Rubio, showed Ortega seven Dallas County forms she had signed. In all, there were five voter registration applications. Two of them had the citizenship box checked “YES”, the others were blank, but all were signed with the affirmation about U.S. citizenship. Ortega also confirmed that she sent a registration application to Tarrant County in October 2014 with the “NO” box checked and received a rejection letter because she said she was not a citizen. She also told the sergeant she had registered for food stamps.
Ortega’s main defense witness at trial was herself. She said she had not pursued being a citizen because she lacked the necessary funds.
The jury took a few hours to find her guilty on both counts.
The Ortega case has been prosecuted amid legislative activity in states like Texas and Virginia, which are actively pursuing legal reforms that would require individuals seeking to become registered voters to prove U.S. citizenship as a prerequisite. In Austin, House Bill 1079, authored by Rep. Mike Schofield (R-Houston), and SB 136, submitted by Sen. Van Taylor (R-Plano), would require election clerks to verify citizenship with documents such as passports, birth certificates, and naturalization forms. The Public Interest Legal Foundation recently released a report documenting more than 1,000 cases of voters being removed from Virginia’s rolls for reasons related to citizen eligibility. Similar legislation is under consideration in that state as well. Only one state, Kansas, currently requires prospective voters to prove citizenship.”
….Continue reading more @ Breitbart