New details about the data breach by former House Democrat IT aide Imran Awan reveal that the scope of this data breach and illegal activity on government computers and servers is much larger than previously thought.
Pennsylvania Republican Representative Scott Perry said during an informal hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday that the “massive” data transfers on government servers are a “substantial security threat” to the country.
Awan was charged in September with bank fraud and conspiracy, among other federal charges, for illegally using secured servers at the House of Congress. But a recent investigation by the House Office of Inspector General has found that Awan and his other IT associates were taking “massive” amounts of data from the servers without authorization.
“These facts, standing along, represent a substantial security threat,” said Representative Perry, member of the Homeland Security subcommittee on cyber security.
According to House officials, Awan and his associates were on their radar for months leading up to their arrest for gaining access to a single server without permission. Most lawmakers fired Awan and his associates after concerns about accessing sensitive information on servers and possible double billing. However, even after House inspectors opened an investigation into Awan in February after reporting their findings, House Democrat Rep, Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) kept Awan and other IT aides on her staff.
In a report by the House Office of Inspector General earlier this year, Awan and five other IT aides had been discovered logging onto the server of then-Democratic Representative Xavier Becerra more than 5,400 times without authorization.
Awan and his wife, Hina Alvia, were arrested in July, where the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia brought up allegations that the duo not only had illegally breached private security systems, but possibly had conspired to obtain home equity lines of credit from the Congressional Federal Credit Union before returning to their home in Pakistan, according to Fox News.
The recent news of the massive security breach is creating a stir around Wasserman Schultz, who kept the staffers on for nearly half a year after they were discovered to be breaking the law and were barred from accessing the House IT network.
Wasserman Schultz has responded to the question of why she kept the team on the payroll after they were barred from the network, saying all the attention is distracting the public from other ongoing criminal investigations like the 2016 campaign Russian hacking scheme. Wasserman Schultz also blamed the “right wing media circus fringe” for drawing attention to the incident.
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