Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) was banned from the House network for allegedly using a "secret server" for still-unknown private data.
From The Daily Caller:
A secret server is behind the Capitol Police’s decision to ban a former IT aide to Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz from the House network.
Now-indicted former congressional IT aide Imran Awan allegedly routed data from numerous House Democrats to a secret server. Police grew suspicious and requested a copy of the server early this year, but they were provided with an elaborate falsified image designed to hide the massive violations. The falsified image is what ultimately triggered their ban from the House network Feb. 2, according to a senior House official with direct knowledge of the investigation.
The secret server was connected to the House Democratic Caucus, an organization chaired by then-Rep. Xavier Becerra. Police informed Becerra that the server was the subject of an investigation and requested a copy of it. Authorities considered the false image they received to be interference in a criminal investigation, the senior official said.
Data was also backed up to Dropbox in huge quantities, the official said. Congressional offices are prohibited from using Dropbox, so an unofficial account was used, meaning Awan could have still had access to the data even though he was banned from the congressional network.
Awan had access to all emails and office computer files of 45 members of Congress who are listed below. Fear among members that Awan could release embarrassing information if they cooperated with prosecutors could explain why the Democrats have refused to acknowledge the cybersecurity breach publicly or criticize the suspects.
House Democrats employed Awan and four family members for years as IT aides. After learning of the House probe, Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, frantically transferred money to accounts in their native Pakistan.
Awan and Alvi were indicted in August on fraud charges related to the transfers, but they have not yet been charged with criminal cybersecurity violations partly because some of the 45 Democrats have been passive about helping build the case, the House official said.
Each House member’s data is supposed to be stored on his own server, but Imran moved files to a computer that was only supposed to hold the files of the administrative office of the Democratic Caucus, the senior official said.
In the spring of 2016, House administrators became aware that the Awans were allegedly falsifying purchase orders. They followed the trail and found that the misconduct extended to a major cybersecurity breach.
On Jan. 24, 2017, Becerra vacated his congressional seat to become California’s attorney general. “He wanted to wipe his server, and we brought to his attention it was under investigation. The light-off was we asked for an image of the server, and they deliberately turned over a fake server,” the senior official said.
“They were using the House Democratic Caucus as their central service warehouse … It was a breach. The data was completely out of [the members’] possession. Does it mean it was sold to the Russians? I don’t know,” the senior official said.
Capitol Police considered the image a sign that the Awans knew exactly what they were doing and were going to great lengths to try to cover it up, the senior official said. The House Sergeant-at-Arms banned them from the network as a result.
The senior official said the data was also funneled offsite via a Dropbox account, from which copies could easily be downloaded. Authorities could not immediately shut down the account when the Awans were banned from the network because it was not an official account.
Read more: (Link: dailycaller.com)