Dems Say They Know Little About IT Staffers Suspected Of Accessing Sensitive Congressional Info
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi would not say Thursday why an IT staffer that was banned from the House network still works for a prominent member of her party’s caucus.
U.S. Capitol Police and other agencies are probing the cyber activities of three brothers who had jobs as congressional staffers at the office of information technology for lawmakers on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, The Daily Caller News Foundation first reported. Brothers Imran, Abid and Jamal Awan also provided their services for other Democratic members in the lower chamber.
When they came under suspicion by law enforcement for accessing the House network without permission last February, they were all banned from accessing it. While some Democratic lawmakers dismissed Imran from their employ when the story, others, like Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz kept him on.
When asked by The Daily Caller why one of the individuals under investigation still has a role as an adviser to Wasserman Schultz, Pelosi responded:
“Well the people under investigation [include] the Attorney General of the United States. I mean, what are we talking about here?”
She continued, “You have a very specific charge there. I haven’t followed that very closely.”
When TheDC pressed further, she added, “I’m not sufficiently understanding the situation to make any concern about it, but there are plenty of people who are under in investigation who still have their jobs.”
Other Democrats said they knew little to nothing at all about the investigation of the Awan brothers.
When The Daily Caller mentioned to Indiana Democratic Rep. Andre Carson that his former IT staffer, Imran, received $100,000 from an Iraqi wanted by the U.S., he said he was unaware of that, though he knew of the police investigation of the IT staffers.
“You know as someone who has worked in counterterrorism homeland security — Indiana — former cop, I’m always concerned about that. And you never know who you’re dealing with, whether it’s an employee or co-worker until it’s revealed,” Carson told TheDC on Wednesday.
Carson also pointed out that since the data breach, House members are moving more towards corporate vendors to help them secure their online information.
“I think that we need to strengthen our internal controls in terms of how we do vending in the future to make sure these things don’t happen again,” he said.
Carson also responded to Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wassermen Schultz demand that Capitol Hill police should give her the seized laptop Imran used since she is not the one under investigation.
“If it’s evidence, I mean, I think we have to follow the proper protocol…We have to make sure law enforcement has the space to do its job,” Carson said.
Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, co-chair of the Democratic National Committee, said he did not know anything about the case. He responded, “I’m at a massive disadvantage because I don’t really know the issue at all.”