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House IT Aides Fear Suspects in Data Breach are Blackmailing Members

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Five Capitol Hill technology aides say they’re confused why four former House IT workers who were banned over allegations of data theft have been left largely untouched.

Where are the arrests?

Imran Awan and three relatives were banned from the computer networks in the House of Representatives after authorities found they were involved with unauthorized access.

Police banned Imran Awan and three relatives from the House computer networks after evidence surfaced that the brothers — the relatives — had accessed the data without first obtaining congressional permission.

But little been done about the suspects, and now aides fear the data on Capitol Hill has been compromised — and that nobody’s being held accountable.

From the Daily Caller:

“Congressional technology aides are baffled that data-theft allegations against four former House IT workers — who were banned from the congressional network — have largely been ignored, and they fear the integrity of sensitive high-level information.

“Imran Awan and three relatives were colleagues until police banned them from computer networks at the House of Representatives after suspicion the brothers accessed congressional computers without permission.

“Five Capitol Hill technology aides told The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group that members of Congress have displayed an inexplicable and intense loyalty towards the suspects who police say victimized them. The baffled aides wonder if the suspects are blackmailing representatives based on the contents of their emails and files, to which they had full access.

“‘I don’t know what they have, but they have something on someone. It’s been months at this point’ with no arrests, said Pat Sowers, who has managed IT for several House offices for 12 years. ‘Something is rotten in Denmark.’

Something’s rotten indeed. Certainly, it’s been long enough to take some kind of punitive action.

Again, from the Daily Caller:

“A manager at a tech-services company that works with Democratic House offices said he approached congressional offices, offering their services at one-fourth the price of Awan and his Pakistani brothers, but the members declined. At the time, he couldn’t understand why his offers were rejected but now he suspects the Awans exerted some type of leverage over members.

“‘There’s no question about it: If I was accused of a tenth of what these guys are accused of, they’d take me out in handcuffs that same day, and I’d never work again,’ he said.

“The Awans’ ban sent 20 members searching for new IT workers, but another contractor claims he’s had difficulty convincing offices to let him fill the void, even when he seemed like a shoo-in. He says he has the sense some members wrongly believed that he blew the whistle on the Awans’ theft and they were angry at him for it.

“Politico reported the Awan crew is “accused of stealing equipment from members’ offices without their knowledge and committing serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network.”

“A House IT employee who requested anonymity said tech workers who have taken over some of those offices found that computers in some — but not all — offices were “thin clients” that sent all data to an offsite server in violation of House policies. Additionally, staffers’ iPhones were all linked to a single non-government iTunes account.

“Awan began working for Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida in 2005, and his wife, his brother’s wife, and two of his brothers all appeared on the payrolls of various House Democrats soon after, payroll records show. They have collected $4 million since 2010.”

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