Awan Spy ring revealed by Congress
Imran Awan and his relatives were running a massive spy operation from within the House computer system, and stole an entire server full of data — House Investigators revealed in a presentation this week — summarizing their findings after a four-month long investigation.
The political, legal and foreign policy ramifications of this report, although currently unnoticed by the main-stream media, will be gigantic.
What this report establishes will be devastating for the Democrats, for Congress, for America, for our military, and for our future prospects of a better relationship with Pakistan.
Luke Rosiak from The Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) has done some award worthy reporting on this subject so I’m going to use his article announcing all this yesterday, as our guide. If you are not familiar with this subject, and some Congress members are in this group – apparently — put down what you are doing, read this, and get familiar.
By Luke Rosiak The Daily Caller
TDC — House investigators concluded that Democratic IT aides made unauthorized access to congressional servers in 2016, allegedly accessing the data of members for whom they did not work, logging in as members of Congress themselves, and covering their tracks, according to a presentation summarizing the findings of a four-month internal probe.
This paragraph is quite the lede.
DEMOCRATIC (They did NOT work for Republicans) IT aides (AWAN and family) made UNAUTHORIZED (felony) access to congressional servers (treason, spying other Federal charges) in 2016, (they were monitoring and can prove this time frame, but will allege more probably), allegedly (they use this word when they plan to charge you) accessing the data of members for whom they did NOT WORK (this is huge, they weren’t just stealing from the stupid Democrats, they were spying on the Republicans!), logging in as members of Congress themselves, (this is a huge no-no and is more serious Federal charges, and may get really touchy if the “Fake” log-ins — sent classified data and/or influenced congressional votes while posing as members of Congress), and covering their tracks, (this is a very important statement, it demonstrates malice and intent, and changes all of this into a national scandal).
That’s just the first paragraph! Here is Rosiak again:
TDC — Their behavior mirrored a “classic method for insiders to exfiltrate data from an organization,” and they continued even after orders to stop, the briefing materials allege. There are indications that numerous members’ data may have been secretly residing not on their designated servers, but instead aggregated onto one server, according to the briefing and other sources. Authorities said that the entire server was then physically stolen.
This paragraph is as astounding as the first. The report calls their behavior a “Classic method for insiders to EXFILTRATE DATA FROM AN ORGANIZATION.” This is not something House Investigators would admit, unless this crisis were past the cover-up stage, which apparently it is.
And the reason why is next, they weren’t just data thieves, they were storing the data for “numerous” congress members “secretly residing not on their designated servers, but instead aggregated onto one server…” which according to this report, astoundingly, was STOLEN. You read that correctly; “Authorites said that entire server was then physically stolen.”
Debbie Wasserman Shultz didn’t just hire these guys, give them the keys to the kingdom and sell them to over 30 other Democratic Congress members, she also REPEATEDLY attempted to thwart this investigation and defend these scum bags.
Some of these crimes are on tape. Wasserman Shultz is a traitor.
The Democrats will need to jettison her if they want the party to survive. As we return to the article, we see that the Dim Party hierarchy, still controlled by the criminals who made this mess, have been lying to their own members about the size, scope, and seriousness of the problem.
TDC — When acting on the findings, Democratic leadership appear to have misrepresented the issue to their own members as solely a matter of theft, a comparison of the investigators’ findings with Democrats’ recollections and a committee’s public statement shows, leading 44 Democrats to not conduct protective measures typically taken after a breach — including informing constituents whose personal information may have been exposed.
This is an important development. The Democratic Party members who want to survive this scandal, will be given an opportunity to say they did not know what was going on – because apparently Nancy Pelosi, Wasserman Shultz, and Steny Hoyer, decided not to TELL them.
TDC — The presentation, written by the House’s Office of the Inspector General, reported under the bold heading “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.”
The news here is that this report came from HOIG, people with sworn constitutional obligations to drill all the way to the bottom of this mess.
TDC — It found indications that a 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.” The server was that of the House Democratic Caucus, a sister group of the DNC that was run at the time by then-Rep. Xavier Becerra.
The aides named are Imran Awan, his wife Hina Alvi, his brothers Abid and Jamal, and his friend Rao Abbas, Pakistani-born aides whose lives are filled with reason forc oncern. Abid’s Ukranian wife Natalia Sova and Haseeb Rana were also involved in the Awans’ activities but departed the House payroll prior to the investigation.
Huge news. Not innocent activity, or late night catch-up of work not done at the office, the server was “being used for nefarious purposes”. They were spies for Pakistan’s famed Intelligence Services and they have made fools out of the United States Congress, courtesy of the DNC and the Democratic Party.
TDC — One systems administrator “logged into a member’s office two months after he was terminated from that office,” the investigative summary says.
While the rules could have been violated for some innocuous purpose, the presentation indicates that is unlikely: “This pattern of login activity suggests steps are being taken to conceal their activity.”
A second presentation shows that shortly before the election, their alleged behavior got even worse. “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
• Some credentials belonged to Members
• The shared employee did not work for 9 of the 17 offices to which these user accounts belonged.”
The investigation found “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.” Using Dropbox is against House rules because it uploads files offsite.
OK, up until now, you are thinking, OK, the members were lied too, and the media was in the dark…but that isn’t so. The Washington Post had a reporter on this beat, they just choose to be hoodwinked into silence, because it fit their pre-determined agenda concerning the DNC, the Democratic party, and most especially Trump.
TDC — The Washington Post referenced the presentation in July, and quoted a House source who claimed that the server was full of the Awan children’s “homework” and “family photos.” The presentation offers reasons to doubt that. “Based on the file names, some of the information is likely sensitive,” it reads.
Imagine what this means, somebody compiled huge amounts of data into a central sever, stole that server, and fled the country with it, all serious Federal crimes, and the WaPo reporter sat there with a straight face and reported the Congress members contention this was nothing but the Awan children’s homework and family photos – without challenge. Democracy dies in the darkness spread by the Post’s malfeasance.
TDC — The statements of numerous Democrats indicate that the Democratic staff of the House Administration Committee and other House officials may have withheld information about cybersecurity breaches from members who employed the suspects, and appear to have misled them about the basic nature of the investigation.
“This is the first I’ve heard about that,” said Missouri Democratic Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver — who employed almost every member of the Awan group — of cybersecurity issues.
“The only thing I’m aware of is that he’s being charged with bank fraud,” Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro, who employed Jamal and is a member of the intelligence committee, told The DCNF. “Do you have evidence that there’s anything more than a bank investigation? If someone’s given you a document to that effect, please give it to me.”
Of course, these guys lie, Pelosi may have told them what was really going on, but probably not. I think she knows her days are numbered, and have been since Hillary lost. She put her neck out legally for Hillary, and Hillary did to her, what she does to anyone who gets near her, she destroys them.
TDC — In early February, House Sergeant-At-Arms Paul Irving, Chief Administrative Officer Phil Kiko, and Jamie Fleet, the Democratic staff director of the Committee on House Administration, summoned affected chiefs of staff to a meeting to announce that the family was being banned from the network.
Republican staff was not present, and the briefers omitted all mention of the cybersecurity component that appears to comprise the most dangerous part of the findings, according to numerous Democrats’ accounts.
On Feb. 3, 2017, Committee on House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper and Ranking Member Robert Brady issued the sole official statement about what they called “the ongoing House theft investigation.”
“House Officials became aware of suspicious activity and alleged theft committed by certain House IT support staff,” the statement read. “An internal investigation determined that a number of House policies and procedures had been violated. This information was turned over to the United States Capitol Police and their investigation is ongoing. These employees have also been blocked from accessing House systems. All offices impacted have been contacted. No further comment will be issued until the investigation is complete.”
But that internal investigation’s most notable findings — in fact, the second presentation didn’t even mention theft — concerned credible evidence of a cyber-breach, and at the time of the announcement, the most recent incident of theft consisted of the disappearance of a server that was evidence in a cybersecurity probe, several authorities said.
There is no scenario where the access was appropriate because House members are not allowed to accept services from people not on their payroll and employees are not permitted to log in to servers of members for whom they do not work. The presentation notes that such House polices are codified in law.
So why are the Capitol Police Involved and NOT the FBI? This question needs an answer, even if it’s obvious a cover-up has been underway.
TDC — But nearly a year later, there have been no criminal charges related to House IT. Two of the suspects were indicted for bank fraud in July after prosecutors said they transferred money from the House bank to Pakistan and tried to flee the country.
There are strong indications that many of the 44 members’ data — including personal information of constituents seeking help — was entirely out of those members’ possession, and instead was stored on the House Democratic Caucus server. The aggregation of multiple members’ data would mean all that data was absconded with, because authorities said that entire server physically disappeared while it was being monitored by police.
An IT aide told The DCNF that colleagues deployed to clean up after the Awans’ firing discovered that in many offices, computers were set up to be nothing more than “thin clients” that were portals to an outside computer. “They were using terminal servers, your desktop is projected to you” from a computer in a different location.
These revelations astound me. Where were the military and FBI security teams that should oversee this system?
TDC — The presentation — though its language is at times opaquely technical — found remote sessions that remained active for months at a time. The House commonly uses Citrix remote sessions that allow someone’s computer screen to show the contents of a different computer, but its security precautions ordinarily cause them to disconnect after just a few minutes. Virtual Private Networks can also make a server’s hard drive appear to be local to a computer.
A House committee staffer close to the probe told The DCNF that “the data was always out of [the members’] possession. It was a breach. They were using the House Democratic Caucus as their central service warehouse.”
“All 5 of the shared employee system administrators collectively logged onto the Caucus system 5,735 times, an average of 27 times per day… This is considered unusual since computers in other offices managed by these shared employees were accessed in total less than 60 times,” the presentation reads.
That, too, may imply that dozens of members’ data was all in one place — on the Caucus’s server instead of in members’ possession. The apparently constant access by the entire crew, even their friend Rao Abbas, also doesn’t jive with The Washington Post’s claim that they were using it as a family computer for homework and photos.
With the basics of the probe hidden from members, Democrats appear to have vocally painted an inaccurate picture of what the report alleges occurred, pointing to the current criminal charges instead of the House’s investigation while not taking any steps to protect potentially compromised data.
Rep. Ted Lieu of California, who employed Abid Awan and is a member of the foreign affairs committee, said as far as he was concerned it was a simple issue of bank fraud.
“The staffer that I used, there was no allegation,” he told a TV station. “If you look at the charge of the brother, he was charged with bank fraud… that has nothing to do with national security.”
This is very dangerous stuff.
These Congress members have an obligation to find out what happened to their data and don’t appear interested. That could mean they were completely lied too, or of course, that they are so dirty, they cannot admit it.
TDC — Prosecutors contend in court filings that they committed bank fraud and tried to flee because they found out about the already-existing investigation into their House activities.
Becerra’s House Democratic Caucus knew about problems and tried to stop them, according to the presentation, but the suspect defied him. Based on other members’ accounts, Becerra does not appear to have warned other offices that might have been affected.
“The Caucus Chief of Staff requested one of the shared employees to not provide IT services or access their computers,” the investigative briefing reads. “This shared employee continued.” Then, as police monitored the server as a primary piece of evidence, they discovered in January that it was taken from under their noses and replaced with a different computer.
Wasserman Shultz needs to come clean or go to prison.