A former IT aide suspected of stealing equipment and data from Congress still has an active, secret email account on the House computer system, even though he has been banned from the congressional network because of a criminal investigation into the alleged cybersecurity violations, The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has learned.
Imran Awan’s still-active email address is linked to the name of a House staffer who specializes in intelligence and homeland security matters for Indiana Democratic Rep. André Carson. Court documents and emails obtained by TheDCNF show Awan used the address [email protected] in addition to his standard [email protected] account.
He and two of his Pakistani-born brothers, as well as his wife, are at the center of an FBI investigation over their IT work with dozens of Democratic congressional offices. Authorities shut down Awan’s standard email account Feb. 2, and he was arrested by the FBI at Dulles International Airport trying to board a flight to his native Pakistan on July 25.
Authorities apparently did not realize Awan has a second account that is not linked to his identity. While his main email address began rejecting mail after it was shut down, the 123 address was still accepting mail Tuesday.
Mail sent via Gmail fills in the name of the account-holder of 123 as Nathan Bennett, whose LinkedIn profile says his individual legislative portfolio covers “national security and foreign affairs” and includes work on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
The member Bennett works for, Carson, is a member of both the House Intelligence and House Homeland Security Committees, and previously employed Awan.
Carson is ranking member of the House intelligence subcommittee on emerging threats, which oversees the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The subcommittee oversight extends to the National Counterterrorism Center and information-sharing programs.
A spokeswoman for Carson, Jessica Gail, did not express concern or surprise when contacted by TheDCNF about Awan’s still-active email address Monday morning. Bennett said Tuesday morning Gail had not even informed him of the details.
Bennett, who is Carson’s deputy chief of staff, told TheDCNF he has no control over the 123 address. “However this happened, it was not with my consent or control,” he said in an email. “For the record, I do not, nor have I ever, had control of the [email protected] email account or any other account connected with Imran Awan or his family.” That could not be confirmed by the House’s chief administrative officer (CAO) because spokesman Dan Weiser has said “the CAO will not comment on matters pertain