3 brothers who managed office IT (information technology) for members of the US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and other lawmakers were immediately sacked on suspicion that they accessed congressional computers without permission.
The brothers: Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan were barred from computer networks at the House of Representatives last Thursday according to reports.
3 members of the intelligence panel and 5 members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs were among the dozens of members who employed the suspects on a shared basis. The 2 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 (D:FL) who was previously the target of a e-Mail hack when she served as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during the Y 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 (D:TX) who serves on both the intelligence and foreign affairs panels.
“As of Feb. 2nd, his employment with our office has been terminated,” Mr. Castro spokeswoman Erin Hatch said Friday.
Jamal also worked for Rep. Cedric Richmond (D:LA), who is on the Committee on Homeland Security.
Imran worked for Reps. Andre Carson (D:IN), and Jackie Speier (D:CA). Both are members of the intelligence committee, and their spokesmen did not respond requests for comment.
Imran also worked for the House office of Ms. Wasserman Schultz.
Then-Rep. Tammy Duckworth(D:IL) employed Abid for IT work in Y 2016. She was a member of House committees dealing with the armed services, oversight, and Benghazi. Ms. 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 (D:FL) who is member of the foreign affairs committee.
The 3 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 5 unnamed people began late last year related to serious and potentially illegal violations of House IT policies. Chiefs of Staff for the members were briefed Thursday by the Sergeant-at-Arms.
A Capitol Police spokeswoman said the investigation was still ongoing, and arrests have not been made but staff were “asked to update their security settings.”
I was reported that the Sergeant-at-Arms told staff that the subjects were four men who were brothers and 1 woman. It did not name them. It quoted one of the affected members as saying “they said it was some sort of procurement scam, but now I am concerned that they may have stolen data from us, emails, who knows.”
Jamal did not return a request for comment from at a personal e-Mail address, e-Mails to House addresses in the three men’s names bounced back Friday.
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 3 brothers, as well as the House Democratic Caucus.
Signs of trouble have long been visible in their public records.
The Congressional Credit Union repossessed Abid’s car in Y 2009, and he declared bankruptcy in Y 2012, facing multiple lawsuits.
Alvi, who did not respond to request for comment.
Jamal, who public records suggest is 22 anni, and 1st began working in the House when he was 20, was paid nearly $160,000 a year, or 3X the average House IT staff salary, according to InsideGov, which tracks congressional salaries. Abid was paid $161,000 and Imran $165,000.
This begs the Big Q: Are the Dems hiring Muslim spies inside our government?
A spokesman for the House 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.