One might think that foreigners stealing sensitive data from Congress is a national security matter; or assume that stolen Congressional IT equipment shouldn’t be sent to foreign countries; maybe common ground can be found on the basis that it is a federal matter when Congressional staffers brag that they can have people tortured in Pakistan. The FBI disagrees.
Imran Awan is from Pakistan, and got a job as an information technology staffer — IT, the same position Edward Snowden held — with former Congressman Robert Wexler in January of 2004, the same year Imran got his American citizenship. Over the last thirteen years, he was paid millions of dollars by at least a dozen Congresspeople.
Loyal person that he is, Imran brought his family into the business. He worked with his employers to hire Imran’s wife Hina Alvi, his brothers Jamal and Abid, and Abid’s wife Natalia Sova. Imran even got his buddy Rao Abbas hired; this is a guy who had been fired from McDonalds, not exactly Google material, but apparently fine for Congress. In total, this cohort worked for at least sixty Congresspeople.
Alas, the Awans are not a wholesome family. Police reports show that Imran had affairs with at least two women, both of whom asked the police for help from physical and emotional abuse. One woman reported that she was being held “like a slave.” Another woman requested help to move herself and her children away from Imran into a shelter. A third woman reported that she was held “captivated [sic].”
Okay, so maybe Imran just has had some bad press. After all, Debbie Wasserman Schultz alleges that Imran is being persecuted because he is a dark-skinned Muslim. Yet even she, who employed Imran and vocally defends him, admits that Imran uploaded Congressional data onto services such as Dropbox. The Washington Post further confirmed that the Inspector General of the House flagged Imran’s behavior after he made unauthorized logins and stole “massive” amounts of data.
The FBI’s web page states, “The FBI has been responsible for identifying and neutralizing ongoing national security threats from foreign intelligence services since 1917.” They are responsible for counter-intelligence, stopping foreigners from compromising sensitive data.
Despite the undisputed theft of sensitive Congressional data, it wasn’t the FBI who confronted this matter, but the Capitol Police who were upset with Imran for “equipment theft”. That’s funny. If a foreigner steals papers off President Trump’s desk would this be designated a “theft of stationary equipment”?
It wasn’t until a half a year after this scandal publicly unraveled that the authorities deigned to arrest Imran, as he tried to flee America to his birthplace Pakistan, via Qatar. But that was only after Hina Alvi, who also was a paid accomplice in this scheme, was allowed to fly to Pakistan knowing that she probably wasn’t going to return. In August, Imran and Hina Alvi were finally charged with four crimes but they were confined to bank fraud. Those particular crimes took place after he came under investigation for his other misdeeds. To agree that he was hit with the appropriate charges requires one to believe that the Capitol Police, FBI, and Inspector General, were all wrong when they originally flagged Imran for theft of data and equipment, but since that time, he incidentally went on to commit totally unrelated crimes.
Why is the FBI whitewashing foreign infiltration of Congress by calling this case mere bank fraud?
Here is why the FBI will fail to properly investigate the Awan case; because they already failed.
The FBI should have prevented the Awans from getting jobs in IT where they could steal sensitive information and have access to American lawmakers. The FBI should have shut this operation down years ago when Imran’s operation wasn’t a sprawling mess compromising sixty offices (and other offices who communicated with those sixty offices). Imran should have been stopped immediately after he began unauthorized data transfers and not years later when local police caught him stealing physical equipment.
Asking the FBI to reveal the entire truth about the damage Imran has wrought means asking the FBI to reveal how badly they have failed. It doesn’t take a conspiracy theory to keep the truth buried: just willful ignorance, a lack of curiosity, an unwillingness to uncover your own mistakes.
Politicians have done their best to protect the Awans. When the Awans finally got banned from the Congressional network, most Congresspeople fired them. IT staffers cannot work without access to the network. Yet, even though Imran couldn’t work, and even though he was known to be under investigation, Debbie Schultz kept paying Imran. She even took the remarkable step of threatening Capitol Police to give her case evidence against Imran.
Schultz is protecting someone who had significant financial dealings with an Iraqi politician connected to Hezbollah, the Pakistani government, and possibly the notorious Pakistani ISI. Imran had those dealings all while moving terabytes of Congressional data into insecure locations.
Schultz isn’t the only one helping Imran. His lawyer is the high powered Chris Gowen. An elite Washington D.C. lawyer who has worked extensively with the Clintons. Maybe it is fortunate coincidence for Imran that Gowen chose to defend a lowly IT staffer who allegedly batters women.
Imran is also under investigation for working with the Russians. Part of the Awan Gang includes his sister-in-law, the Ukranian Natalia Sova, who had a paid position for Congress handling sensitive data. Imran “used to talk a lot about Russia”. If people are concerned about Russian influence in America, this certainly seems like a good place to look.
Trump is under investigation because maybe he worked with someone, who knew someone friendly to Putin. James Comey thought it was a matter of national security. Well, the Awans worked with at least one foreign government and allegedly Russia too. He was protected by Debbie Schultz. Schultz is protected by Hillary Clinton who has taken in nine figure sums of money from foreign entities including via Russia. The Awan’s stole data, and put it on Dropbox (Comey stated that when Hillary did something similar with her emails, it was insecure and dangerous). Anything Imran took off the Congressional network and put on the cloud made it vulnerable to foreign entities. If the FBI applied the same standard here, as they do to Trump, it would be a national security matter of urgency.
A serious counterintelligence investigation should ask unpleasant questions, such as: How much of the Congressional data taken presents a national security risk? When did Schultz learn that Imran was stealing Congressional data? How did Imran get his job initially? What is Imran’s connection to the Pakistani government? What is Imran and Natalia’s connection to Russia? How did Imran and his gang get work in so many Congressional offices? Which politicians got blackmailed or bribed or acted as an accomplice?