The FBI is currently examining a number of smashed hard drives discovered in a property belonging to Pakistani IT specialists who worked for a number of Democratic senators and House representatives, including Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). The Pakistani brothers are currently being investigated by the FBI and Capitol Hill Police for blackmailing an undisclosed number of congressmen and women as well as overcharging Congress for IT equipment.
The Awan brothers provided their services to over 30 Democratic members of Congress with the family collecting nearly $5 million over a 14-year period. The brothers also worked with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Documents released by WikiLeaks also show that one of the brothers, Imran, was given the password of Wasserman Schultz’s iPad. This means that the IT aide, who started working for the Florida representative in 2004, had unrestricted access to the DNC email stash.
The FBI discovered the smashed hard drives after a Marine Corps veteran who had rented the brothers’ property in Lorton, Va. contacted the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). The Marine got in touch with the enforcement agency after he came across what he described as “government-issued equipment.” Imran Awan vacated the property shortly after it was revealed that he was under investigation earlier on this year.
Wasserman Schultz, who was forced to resign as Democratic National Committee chair in July 2016 after it was alleged that she had rigged her party’s primary, continued working closely with Imran despite being aware of the ongoing criminal probe involving “wide-range equipment and data theft.” In March, various sources reported that Imran and his wife had a “friendly personal relationship” with Wasserman Schultz. Her IT aide is now believed to have fled to Pakistan.
Last week, the Florida representative agreed to give Capitol Police access to a laptop that was confiscated months ago. Although this has not been confirmed, it could be the very same laptop Imran hid in a congressional office building as investigators were closing in on him.
Wasserman Schultz was allowed to stall the investigation because of Article I, Section 6, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution. Indeed the “Speech and Debate” clause “bars law enforcement from interfering in lawmakers’ official congressional business” and “was designed to keep law enforcement from targeting lawmakers for their political views or legislative work.”Share