Conservative lawmakers held an unofficial meeting Tuesday on the scandal surrounding Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s (D-FL) former IT aide Imran Awan amid fears of a major security breach, with one lawmaker saying it “cries out” for a House probe.
Rep Jim Jordan (R-OH) told five fellow lawmakers of the Taxed Enough Already Caucus and three specialists on the topic at the meeting that House leaders need to do more:
This at least cries out for a serious investigation when you got people who have money problems hanging out with and getting a loan from someone who is known to hang out with Hezbollah and they have access to the server for dozens and dozens of Democrat officials in the United States Congress, I don’t know, but that’s a movie right there I think
— Louie Gohmert (@replouiegohmert) October 10, 2017
Awan has been charged with counts of bank fraud in relation to moving money to Pakistan after taking out allegedly fraudulent loans. Other members of his family, including his wife and two brothers, are part of the investigation as they were also hired by Democratic offices.
Awan, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges, was arrested trying to board a flight with his family to Pakistan in July. Most lawmakers had already fired him over concerns about practices after federal investigators raised red flags in January and banned him from the House network, but Wasserman Schultz kept him on until July.
While Democrats such as Wasserman Schultz have dismissed it as part of a right-wing “circus,” even the Washington Post — while decrying right-wing “conspiracy theories” — admitted that it “highlights urgent and persistent questions about how well Congress safeguards computer equipment and data.”
“And yet we’re having six guys show up to talk to three guys who’ve been following this story … where the heck is the House investigation, that’s what I want to know?” Jordan said in the hearing.
The hearing also featured Daily Caller investigative reporter Luke Rosiak, who broke much of the story over recent months, and Tom Fitton, head of Judicial Watch. Both agreed with lawmakers that there appear to be enough unanswered questions and red flags over the story that require further House investigation.
According to the Post, Awan came over to the U.S. from Pakistan at 17 after winning a green card through the lottery system, eventually becoming a citizen and being hired as an IT specialist in the office of Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL). He soon became popular and was working part-time for a number of offices, while recommending family members for roles at the Hill.
But the group of IT workers came under scrutiny when investigators found they had logged onto one server, belonging to then-Rep. Xavier Becerra and connected to the Democratic caucus more than 5,700 times over seven months, according to the Post. Also, Awan and his wife took out $283,000 in home-equity loans in December, a week before they were banned from the House network. The couple also owed $100,000 to an Iraqi politician wanted by U.S. authorities and has been linked to Hezbollah, according to the Daily Caller.
At the hearing, Rosiak said it is unclear if Awan had access to the Democratic National Committee server, in response to questions if he could have been involved in the now-infamous 2016 hack of the DNC server — a hack that Democrats have sought to blame on Russian interference, despite evidence to the contrary. Lawmakers noted that further investigation was needed to find out if Awan could be linked to the DNC hack.
A congressional source had previously told Rosiak that Awan and associates had moved “terrabytes” of data off-site, raising the yet-unanswered question of what exactly was taken.
Rosiak, in an article published Monday, put the situation starkly:
The Awan family had access to the full digital files of 45 House members and their staffs, but Democrats have said they don’t believe he would abuse that access, despite a host of financial red flags, including financial ties to an Iranian fugitive and money sent to a Pakistani police officer.
At the hearing, Fitton was asked about the worst-case scenario for the many unanswered questions surrounding Awan. Fitton said that worst-case scenarios include a terrorist ring, they could be linked to the DNC leak, or a national security breach.
“The best-case scenario ain’t all that great. You had an ongoing criminal enterprise operating under the noses of 40 House members, and the responsible administrative officials here in the House of Representatives, and put all of the details of his scandal aside, inflammatory details, what is the House doing right now to make sure this isn’t going on right now?”
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.