The case of the Awan brothers is a curious one indeed. It all started with three Pakistani brothers by the names of Abid, Jamal, and Imran Awan. It also includes several other people: a person by the name of Rao Abbas; Hilna Alvi (Imram Awan’s wife); Natalia Sova, from Ukraine (wife of Abid Awan); Jamal Awan (Brother or son of Imran, unclear) and Suraiya Begum (Relationship unclear).
They all performed IT or IT-related services for the members of the House of Representatives; while Hilna Alvi was employed as a staffer. None of these individuals ever had background checks done on them.
Most of them made salaries ordinarily only chiefs of staff earn, but definitely uncommon for the IT circles. As of 2016, some of their earnings were:
- Imran Awan: $164,600
- Jamal Awan: $157,350.12
- Abid Awan: $160,943
- Hilna Alvi: $85,049
According to several sources, including this transcription of a PowerPoint presentation from the House Office of Inspector General, they were abruptly fired in 2016, on suspicion that they have accessed congressional computers without permission, made irregular purchases and stole computers and data systems. However, Florida’s Debbie Wasserman Schultz, then-Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair, kept Imran Awan in the payroll, let him have access to her emails and files as well as the password to the electronic device she used for DNC business.
List of Congressional Members employing Imran Awan and his cohorts
In 2016, the Inspector General of the House (OIG) tracked the network usage of the information technology worker, Imran Awan, and his associates, “and found that a massive amount of data was flowing from the networks.” According to Rep. Scott Perry:
Over 5,700 logins by the five Awan associates were discovered on a single server within the House. 5,400 appear unauthorized.
That particular server belonged to then-Democratic Rep. Xavier Becerra, who is now attorney general in California. Attorney General Becerra’s server “was actually housing the entirety of the servers of all the member offices that employed Imran or his associates. All of it. The entirety.”
Up to 40 or more members of Congress had all of their data moved out of their office server or out of their cloud storage system and onto the Becerra server without their knowledge or consent
At one point, the Awans had access to the computers of dozens of members of Congress, including those on the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees. Some of the original charges are as follows:
- “Unauthorized access” that “5 shared employee system administrators have collectively logged into 15 member offices and the Democratic Caucus although they were not employed by the offices they accessed.”
- House “server is being used for nefarious purposes and elevated the risk that individuals could be reading and/or removing information” and “could be used to store documents taken from other offices.”
- Irregular purchases to circumvent the requirement to include equipment exceeding $500 on the House offices inventory.
During September 2016, shared employee continued to use Democratic Caucus computers in anomalous ways:
- Logged onto laptop as system administrator
- Changed identity and logged onto Democratic Caucus server using 17 other user account credentials
- The shared employee did not work for 9 of the 17 offices to which these user accounts belonged.
- Possible storage of sensitive House information outside the House.
- Dropbox is installed on two Caucus computers used by the shared employees.
- Two user accounts had thousands of files in their Dropbox folder on each computer.
In late September and early October of 2016, the House OIG reported its findings to the Speaker’s office, to Democratic leadership, to the Committee on House Administration, and to the House Sergeant at Arms and Capitol Police. The crew is now the target of a U.S. Capitol Police criminal information security probe with assistance from other law enforcement agencies as needed.
Even more bizarrely, in April 2017 a laptop and bag were found in a phone booth in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, and Capitol Police found its contents were linked to Awan and other U.S. officials. It appears the laptop was tied to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She also threatened the Capitol Police with “consequences” if they didn’t return the computer Imran used that was seized as evidence in the investigation.
The Awan brothers were well within the Pakistani government. So much so that apparently, Mr. Imram Awam himself would get police escorts whenever he visited the country. They are also linked with an Iraqi politician who is a fugitive from U.S. authorities and who has been linked to the Hezbollah terrorist group in the Middle East, and to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Apparently none of this matters. Because the only charges bought up against Mr. Imram Awan are just bank fraud. In fact, Mr. Imram Awan was arrested in 2017 at Dulles International airport while he was trying to flee to his native Pakistan.
You can read the affidavit here:
and the criminal complaint here:
So now, we are supposed to forget everything about the Awan Brothers and associates. Especially the more serious allegations involving the Awans posing a real threat to national security and their ties to the Pakistani government, Hezbollah and Muslim Brotherhood. Because, according to the Washington Post, any additional accusations made against Imran Awan or their associates are the result of Islamaphobia and are simply ‘right-wing conspiracy theories’.
Well, haven’t we been hearing about the Awan brothers for a very long time? Including from Trump himself? Haven’t we figured them to be deeply involved with the dealings of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the Pakistani intelligence (among others)?
If the evidence wasn’t already enough for conviction, even if just for the related bank fraud charges, Imram Awan got a sweetheart plea deal with The Department of Justice (DOJ).
You can read the plea here:
A somewhat rough translation of the plea would go along the lines of: “you been a bad boy’ slap on the wrist ‘Don’t do it again, ok? Atta boy!.”
What an interesting insight into the Justice system!
Originally published: 14th July 2018
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