The probe into six Pakistani suspects who were hired as IT staffers by a long list of Democratic congress members continues to escalate.
In an August 4 letter, just made public Monday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley demanded to see copies of the immigration files for the six Pakistani suspects, who have raked in over $4 million over the past 13 years while performing IT work for Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and about 30 other members of congress.
The Pakistani congressional IT staffers included three brothers, Imran Awan, Abid Awan and Jamal Awan, and two of their wives, Hina Alvi and Natalia Sova. They were among the highest-paid House staffers, and had full, unrestricted access to members’ correspondence, emails and confidential files, including the password for an iPad used by Wasserman Schultz during the time she was chair of the DNC.
The group is now being accused by Capitol police of stealing equipment from Congress and accessing computers without permission.
In May, it was reported that Imran Awan’s wife, Hina Alvi, had fled back to Pakistan with her children. Awan tried to follow her, but was caught and arrested at the Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., on Monday night, July 24.
In Grassley’s August 4 letter, addressed to Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke, he wrote:
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the U.S. Capitol Police recently arrested Imran Awan, a congressional I.T. specialist for several members of the U.S. House of Representatives, as he was trying to leave the country for his native Pakistan. According to an FBI affidavit, Awan was arrested for allegedly engaging in a bank fraud scheme by obtaining a home equity line of credit based on material misrepresentations. News reports state Awan wired $300,000 of the proceeds from the fraudulent activity to Pakistan. In attempting the wire transfer, Awan pretended to be his wife, lied that the transfer was for ‘funeral arrangements,’ and then told the bank manager to hold while he googled a reason for the transfer. Reportedly, there were other wire transfers to Pakistan, in addition to the $300,000.”
“Awan began working as an IT aide in 2004. Later, his wife, two brothers, and two friends began working as IT aides for nearly 30 congressmen. Over the span of 13 years, they collected more than $4 million— a sum that is reported to be three times higher than the norm for a government contractor.”
“In light of the alleged illegal activity, the Committee seeks to better understand Awan and his associates’ immigration histories. Therefore, please provide the Alien File for the individuals listed below. Please also include any temporary files, working files, and all documents and items contained in them that were generated by DHS or in its possession about each individual listed below, whether currently in written or electronic form, including criminal history and immigration summaries, detainers, or requests for notification, if applicable.”
- Imran Awan
- Hina Alvi
- Abid Awan
- Natalia Sova
- Jamal Awan
- Rao Abbas
Grassley requested a response to his request by August 18, 2017.
Wasserman Schultz, who hired Imran Awan in 2005, continued to keep him on the payroll, in spite of the fact that he was under investigation, until the day after his arrest at the airport.
After the Awans suddenly moved out of the home they were renting in Virginia, a new renter moved in, who is a retired U.S. Marine. The man discovered wireless routers, smashed hard drives and laptops the Pakistanis had left behind, and turned it over to the police.
Wasserman Schultz threatened the Capitol Police in a meeting in May, demanding that a confiscated laptop be returned, but to no avail.
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