A bombshell series of reports first reported in the Daily Caller names Abid Awan, Imran Awan and Jamal Awan, as well as Imran’s wife Hina R. Alvi and Abid’s wife Natalia Sova, as the previously-unnamed staffers at the center of a widening criminal probe by U.S. Capitol Police. The five are under investigation for severe and potentially criminal abuses of the House of Representatives network, including unauthorized and untraceable use of the network, stealing Congressional property, accessing congressional computers and files without permission, and downloading that information onto a private, offsite server.
All five have had network access severed; most have lost their jobs. But new details reported by the Daily Caller illuminate the worrying depth of the scandal, even as former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz refuses to terminate Imran Awan, in contrast to most of her colleagues.
Imran Awan was the first of the family to be hired. He was hired to perform House IT work in 2004 for then-Rep. Robert Wexler (D, FL). Brothers Abid and Jamal, as well as Imran’s wife Hina Alvi and Abid’s wife Natalia Sova, were hired years later to work as “shared staff” among Democratic members of Congress including Rep. Joaquin Castro (D, TX); Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D, IL); Rep Lois Frankel (D, FL); Rep. Cedric Richmond (D, LA); Rep. Andre Carson (D, IN); and Rep. Jackie Speier (D, CA), along with “dozens” of other House Democrats, according to the Daily Caller. Under this arrangement, members shared the family’s time and jointly contributed to their paychecks.
Many of these members serve on House Intelligence, Armed Services or Foreign Affairs committees, handling sensitive (and potentially classified) information. Rep. Tammy Duckworth was a member of the Benghazi Committee as well.
Coverage of the criminal investigation says all four had “full access” to the “correspondence, emails, [and] confidential files” of the members they worked for and engineered House networks to disarm the technology used to track every keystroke made by those accessing the House of Representatives network. Having removed that protection, no one can say for sure how much the five accessed or downloaded. They collected millions of dollars in pay over the course of their employment; Jamal, just 20 years old, had an annual salary of $160,000.