Pakistani congressional IT staffers currently under criminal investigation for violating the House IT network had unrestricted access to members’ correspondence, emails, and confidential files, and their actions were rarely tracked, according to a former co-worker.
Imran Awan requested an unusually high number of permissions from central IT, bullying employees to bend the rules so a record of his requests would not exist. According to a central IT employee, the actions of the staffers under investigation were not logged, so House members have no way of knowing what information might have been compromised.
Awan oversaw technology for several House Democrats. Soon after he was hired, four of his relatives—including brothers Abid and Jamal—appeared on the payroll of numerous other members, earning $4 million in taxpayer funds since 2010.
On Feb. 2, U.S. Capitol Police named Awan and his relatives as subjects of a criminal investigation and terminated their access to the complex’s computer networks.
“They had access to EVERYTHING. Correspondence, emails, confidential files—if it was stored on the member system, they had access to it,” a former House Information Resources technology employee with first-hand knowledge of Imran’s privileges told The Daily Caller.
“IT staff at HIR can be tracked for every keystroke they make,” the worker added. Awan’s situation was different.
“When these guys were granted access to the member’s computer systems there is no oversight or tracking of what they may be doing on the member’s system. For example, they could make a copy of anything on the member’s computer system to a thumb drive or have it sent to a private server they had set up and no one would know.”
Multiple House IT workers are concerned that members are not taking the possible breaches seriously.
“After being notified by the House Administration Committee, [Abid] was removed from our payroll. We are confident that everything in our office is secure,” Hilarie Chambers, chief of staff for Democratic representative Sander Levin of Michigan said.
Those same IT employees claim that it is impossible for members’ offices to make that judgment. Neither are the Capitol Police capable of determining all the crimes that have allegedly occurred. They are investigating cyber crimes and current and potential international fugitives, despite their primary duties being the provision of physical security.
Numerous members of Congress who employed the suspects would not confirm whether they have been terminated or what measures they have taken to ensure that their information has not been compromised.
The central IT worker asserts that they are ignoring the case, but their apathy regarding the situation amplifies the real problem.
“Unfortunately, as the recent election has shown, security of computer systems on the Hill is not really taken seriously.”
H/T: The Daily Caller
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