Why, I was just thinking the other day how long it had been since we’d seen the cheery face of former DNC chair and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz or heard anything about that nice family of Pakistani “IT professionals” who kept Democrats’ laptops in tip-top shape for over a decade. How wonderful to see that they’re back in the news now.
Imran Awan and his family continued working as server administrators for months after the House Inspector General found that they’d committed serious misconduct. And to this day, no one has been charged with hacking, though Awan and his wife were charged with felonies for allegedly cashing out their congressional retirement account under false pretenses while trying to get the heck out of Dodge (the US). A new article by cybersecurity expert Kevin McDonald appearing in SearchSecurity, a publication for IT professionals, bluntly calls this story an example of “negligence trumping security and, worse yet, common sense.”
McDonald blames Wasserman Schultz in particular for the “alarming” risk-taking; as head of the DNC, she went so far as to keep Awan on the payroll for six months after he was put under criminal investigation and banned by the House from the computer network. Stunningly, he and his family had been working for 44 House Democrats, maintaining access to all the emails and files of 1 in 5 Democratic members of Congress. Incredibly, they could log right in any time they wanted with the personal usernames of those legislators.
Wasserman Schultz insulted our intelligence by claiming Awan could still perform IT work after he was banned, without connecting to the House network at all. She argued that there were still some services he could provide because he possessed continued access to the building in which computers were stored and used. I am not kidding. Why on earth was she so unconcerned about this breathtaking breach of security? One thing we learn from this is that when you need someone to defend the indefensible...who ya gonna call? Call Debbie!
According to the IG, not only did Awan and his family steal equipment, but they also logged thousands of times into servers of offices they didn’t even work for. The report warned that there were indications of servers “being used for nefarious purposes and elevated the risk that individuals could be reading and/or removing information” Ya think? McDonald warned that there are all kinds of risks posed by this: “They can add programs designed to spy on users, damage systems or data, redirect data flows and communications, or fully produce every bit of data contained on the systems they control. They can pretend to be a user and take action as if they are that user.”
Certainly from these computers they would have been able to get into any other computer that sent or received email --- and that means from members of BOTH parties. That ability may be key to why the Democrats kept it on the hush-hush; perhaps they were getting something themselves.
This kind of set-up is a spies’ paradise. According to the Daily Caller News Foundation, background checks are supposed to be required for all IT personnel, but in lieu of that, members of Congress can just personally vouch for them. So easy! Apparently, all 44 Democratic representatives vouched for Awan and his family.
At a time when Democrats are still expressing their rich fantasy life with chants of “Russia, Russia, Russia” and a ginned-up special counsel to pick apart Donald Trump, and by accusing Vladimir Putin of “assaulting democracy” by leaking their embarrassing emails to Wikileaks, their extreme disregard for cybersecurity when it comes to the VERY REAL Awan family is not only outrageous but totally nonsensical. (Come to think of it, though, they didn’t seem to have any concern about Hillary’s VERY REAL mishandling of classified documents, either. And as of this week, she’s still blaming “Russia” for her defeat, along with many other pathetic excuses.) It’s not just curious on the part of Wasserman Schultz but many others as well; for example, the lack of concern from then-House Democratic Caucus chair Xavier Becerra –- now attorney general of California –- makes absolutely no sense, considering his computer was monumentally hacked. And when something doesn’t make sense, it means there’s a piece we don’t have.
Since no evidence of wrongdoing by President Trump has been found after over a year of digging, why don’t investigators stop wasting time and money on that and find out what was going on with this odd and suspicious arrangement?
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