WASHINGTON – Democrats may have a major national security hacking scandal on their hands that’s on the brink of exploding into public view.
Investigators, including Capitol Police, have been looking into whether classified or other sensitive information has been hacked by former information technology, or IT, staffers employed by Democrats in Congress.
Now, a source has confirmed to WND that the problem is so big, it is being handled as a criminal matter. And the source says suspects will likely receive prison sentences.
A House committee that deals with security-related issues is cooperating with Capitol Police in their investigation, according to the source.
Politico initially reported two weeks ago that five House employees were under investigation for possible equipment theft and unauthorized access of House IT systems.
Then the Daily Caller reported the focus has been on three brothers, Abid, Imran and Jamal Awan, “suspected of compromising the networks of Democrats on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and House Committee on Foreign Affairs.”
The Awan brothers were all barred from access to House computer systems then fired, apparently sometime in the last 10 days, after the story initially broke.
Last week, Frontpage Magazine reported the brothers are Muslims from Pakistan, but that has not been reported elsewhere and WND could not independently confirm it.
The brothers were not employed by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence or the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, but their services were shared by the offices of numerous Democratic Party lawmakers.
A spokesman for House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence or House Committee, or HPSCI, chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., told WND they are confident the IT staffers had no access to committee computer systems and that they could not have accessed sensitive data stored there.
Spokesman Jack Langer also said the committee leadership has no reason to believe any classified HPSCI information was compromised.
WND asked representatives for the Foreign Affairs Committee if they had the same confidence their computer system had not been compromise but did not receive a response by the time this story was published.
The fact that Capitol Police have acknowledged there is an investigation, but the HPSCI is confident its computer system was not compromised, suggests investigators may be looking into whether classified or sensitive material may have been illegally accessed on the individual computer systems of the Democratic lawmakers on the committee who employed the Awan brothers.
The three Democratic lawmakers who employed the Awan brothers and who are on the HPSCI include:
- Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind.
- Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif.
- Rep. Joaquín Castro, D-Texas
Carson is the ranking member on HPSCI’s Emerging Threats subcommittee and also serves on the Department of Defense Intelligence and Overhead Architecture subcommittee.
He is also a Muslim who has what the Center for Security Policy calls “extensive and longstanding ties to organizations and individuals associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Two years ago, the center documented those ties in a paper that said:
“Among those with whom Rep. Carson has been involved as a guest speaker, panelist, fundraiser, recipient of funds, etc., are: the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and a number of its chapters across the country; the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA); the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA); the Muslim American Society (MAS); and the Brotherhood’s new proto-political party, the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO).”
The Justice Department named CAIR and ISNA as unindicted co-conspirators in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation trial, a criminal plot to provide material support to Hamas terrorists. USCMO and ICNA were also implicated. Federal prosecutors referred to MAS as the “overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
WND contacted representatives for Carson and the other two Democrats on the HPSCI who employed the Awan brothers.
WND relayed word to them that the HPSCI spokesman was confident that the Democrats’ IT staffers had no access to HPSCI computer systems and that they could not have obtained sensitive data stored there.
However, since the former employees were still under investigation by Capitol Police, WND asked: “Are you confident you had no sensitive or classified material on your own system those IT employees may have accessed? Are you checking?”
WND did not receive a single response.
Imran Awan also worked for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D- Fla., who famously had her own catastrophic email hack while serving as chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential campaign.
WND also asked Wasserman Schultz’s office if she was confident she had no sensitive or classified material on her own system that Awan may have accessed and whether the office was looking into what information might have been accessed during the breach. There was no response.
The source said some of the chairs of the committees looking into the Democrats’ growing hacking scandal might comment.
WND asked Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., chairwoman of the House Ethics committee, and Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security committee, if they could confirm that the hacking scandal was as serious as the source had stated. But they did not respond.
WND also contacted Capitol Police spokeswoman Eva Malecki in an attempt to confirm the source’s claim that there was a criminal investigation likely to lead to arrests.
On Feb. 4, Malecki had told the Daily Caller the investigation was still ongoing and that arrests had not been made.
At the time this story was published, Malecki had not yet responded to WND’s inquiry.
Meanwhile, conservatives in Congress have been growing increasingly frustrated that the Democrats’ hacking scandal, with major national security implications, has received no attention at all from the establishment media.
“I’m for an investigation — I hope to do it,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, on Tuesday.
He said he would discuss the possibility with Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.
“The facts regarding technology procurement and potentially illegal violations of the House IT network by several Democratic staffers is very concerning,” he added.
Philip Haney, a former Department of Homeland Security officer and co-author of “See Something, Say Nothing,” a book about his effort to expose the U.S. governments capitulation to Islamic supremacists, said the case will be a bellwether.
“This particular breach of security will reveal how seriously our three branches of government actually take the threat posed by what appears to be a network of Muslim operatives, who have managed to soak their way into the very heart of our constitutional republic,” he said.
“Let’s hope that this scandal isn’t just swept under the rug, or allowed to fade quietly into the background, like so many others that have, but instead becomes a case study in how our elected officials defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.
In addition to the Democrats contacted Wednesday, WND made dozens of calls and sent dozens of emails on Tuesday asking lawmakers who might have hired the Awan brothers for comment and an update on the status of the investigation.
A spokesman for Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., responded tersely, “Can’t comment on this one.”
A spokeswoman in the office of Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., said it was a “personnel matter,” and “that’s all I’m going to say.”
Also contacted, without generating a response, were representatives for Democrats Luis Guiterez, Jim Himes, Terri Sewell, Mike Quigley, Eric Swalwell, Patrick Murphy, Lois Frankel, Ted Lieu, Robin Kelly, Tammy Duckworth, Mark Takano and John Sarbanes.