Former House IT staffer, Imran Awan, is currently under indictment for conspiracy to commit bank fraud would allegedly spend months out of the year in his homeland of Pakistan accessing Capital Hill servers remotely. Some Republican Congressional members who want a full investigation into the developing House IT scandal said they were alarmed.
On Wednesday, a day after Florida Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis, joined other Congressional members on Capital Hill for a caucus meeting on Awan, he warned that mounting evidence suggests Awan and members of his family who worked with him, may have done much more than commit bank fraud.
“I think there is a legitimate question about whether our national security was damaged by Awan’s access to all of this material, but we have been told to stand down on that, they say there is an Administration Committee investigation, they say there might be something in the Ethics Committee, but we have no way of knowing whether that stuff is effective or not,” said DeSantis, who added that the House Administration Committee may not be the right committee for the investigation.
In July, Awan, who was employed by Florida Democrat Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, was arrested at Dulles International Airport with a ticket to Pakistan, according to court documents, which stated that the FBI believed he was fleeing. Forbes reported Monday, that Awan wiped his cell phone clean just hours before preparing to leave to Pakistan. On Friday, U.S. Attorney Michael Mirando argued before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, that Imran was a flight risk because the cellphone found on him “had been wiped clean just a few hours before.”
On August 17, Awan and his wife Hina Alvi, were indicted by a federal grand jury on four counts, including conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiring to obtain home equity loans for $165,000 and $120,000 from the Wright Patman Congressional Federal Credit Union. The pair transferred the money to Pakistan, according to court documents.
But the long drawn out IT saga takes twists that the congressional members compared to a Hollywood movie, and Alvi is now accusing her husband of fraud, saying in court documents that Awan “threatened the complainant of dire consequences, he also threatened to harm the lives of family of the complainant if she intervenes,” as first reported by The Daily Caller Foundation.
Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, who chaired the Caucus, told Circa Wednesday, the more the story evolves the more "it's like a Hollywood movie." But the consequences regarding national security are very real and dire, he added.
“It’s still amazing how someone can get that ingrained in the United States Congress," Gohmert said. "The U.S. House of Representatives, IT system. And I didn’t realize there were times he would spend three or more months out of the year in Pakistan, doing work on the computer systems of the members of Congress.”
Rep. Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican, whose a member of the Homeland Security subcommittee on cyber-security, warned during the Caucus meeting that the massive transfer of data Awan was moving - which is expected to be more than two terabytes - raises serious national security implications. Perry said that more than 5,700 logins on single server in the House done by Awan and those who worked for him, and 5,400 of those logins appeared unauthorized.
DeSantis told Circa, "I want this to be a rigorous prosecution, and part of that is bringing Awan in and say okay what do you know, why were the members paying all of this, and get all the facts.”
Gohmert said without an investigation there may be no way to understand what happened and stop it from happening again.
“He is handling all of these emails and calendars that would be worth a lot of money, like somebody on the intelligence committee," Gohmert said. "But all of these are critically important to know who the member of congress is talking to, what the impression of the member is.”