Intel Committee Dems ‘Dangerous,’ ‘Negligent’ In Handling Of Breach By Their Own IT Aide
|| Daily Caller
“Three Democrats on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence have been “dangerous” and “negligent” by seemingly failing to react to evidence of a major security breach by their own IT aides, a former Air Force colonel and career intelligence staffer charged. In light of this, he told The Daily Caller News Foundation, their concerns on committee Republicans voting to release a classified memo ring hollow.
The House inspector general found that a family of Pakistanis working for Democrats made “unauthorized access” to House servers, logging in using members’ personal usernames, covering their tracks, and continuing to access servers even after efforts to stop them. The IG found evidence that data from 17 members may have been funneled onto one server, which law enforcement said was later physically stolen.
Intelligence committee members Democratic Reps. Joaquin Castro of Texas, Andre Carson of Indiana, and Jackie Speier of California employed the aides until they were banned from the network in February 2017. Castro and Speier both said they did not know of any cybersecurity breach, but then they refused to respond when TheDCNF revealed two reports by the House’s internal investigator that showed there was a breach.
“As a member you have an obligation and a responsibility to know. To say you don’t know is a cop-out and excuse. You had no interest in it nor did you care about safeguarding official government documents,” James Waurishuk, a retired Air Force colonel, senior career strategic intelligence officer and National Security Council staffer, told TheDCNF. People with clearances, he said, are obligated to proactively find and report threats.
One of the aides, Imran Awan, had a secret email address — firstname.lastname@example.org — that was set up in the name of an intelligence specialist who works for Carson. The secret address remained active after Imran’s main account was blocked. In August, TheDCNF discovered in civil court documents that the address actually belonged to Imran, and alerted Carson’s office of the vulnerability. Carson spokeswoman Jessica Gail did not openly express any alarm.
“Where someone has knowledge that something wasn’t right and rather than make an issue of it — the individual was a friend or someone they had to deal with every day and they wanted to turn a blind eye — in the end it winds up catching both of them,” Waurishuk told TheDCNF. “If you fail to follow the necessary procedures, then depending on the level, people go to jail for that.”
Democrats are “outraged over publishing the memo in accordance with House rules, yet they have nothing to say at all about major security breaches by a staffer they themselves employed,”a Republican intel committee source told TheDCNF on background because the person was not authorized to comment. “Their level of concern about information security issues obviously depends on that issue’s political ramifications for themselves and their party.”
Ranking Member of the intelligence committee Democrat Adam Schiff has attacked the GOP for voting to release a classified memo Republicans say shows abuses of spying authority. Democrats charge Republicans are showing a disregard for security procedures. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said committee Chairman Devin Nunes “has disgraced the House Intelligence Committee.” Republicans say the document contains information that Americans have a right to know about.
The Awans were banned from the House network in February but not arrested. Yet in April, Awan was in a House office building at midnight and left a government laptop with the username RepDWS in a decommissioned phone booth.
“With these three members on intel with this whole investigation going on with FISA and unmasking, did these individuals have any access to that info?” Waurishuk asked of that incident and the active email address tied to Carson’s office. “I’d like to see Schiff briefed on this and see what he knows about it.”
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