NY Post Federal authorities are investigating whether sensitive data was stolen from congressional offices by several Pakistani-American tech staffers and sold to Pakistani or Russian intelligence, knowledgeable sources say. What started out 16 months ago as a scandal involving the alleged theft of computer equipment from Congress has turned into a national-security investigation involving FBI surveillance of the suspects.
Investigators now think that sensitive US government data — possibly including classified information — could have been compromised and may have been sold to hostile foreign governments that could use it to blackmail members of Congress or even put their lives at risk.
“This is a massive, massive scandal,” a senior US official familiar with the widening probe told The Post. During the probe, investigators found valuable government data that is believed to have been taken from the network and placed on offsite servers, setting off more alarms. Some 80 offices were potentially compromised.
Most lawmakers fired the alleged “ringleader” — longtime IT staffer Imran Awan — in early 2017. But Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former Democratic National Committee chief, kept Awan on her payroll until his arrest last month on seemingly unrelated charges of defrauding the congressional credit union. “This whole investigation pivots off Debbie Wasserman Schultz,” the official said. “It’s clear that large bytes of data were moved off the secure network,” said another source close to the investigation, adding that Awan and the other four staffers under investigation had “full and complete access” to lawmakers’ e-mails, calendars, schedules, hearing notes, meeting notes and memos and other sensitive information