Topline

As part of ongoing criminal investigations into the January 6 Capitol riots, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is following up on a tip claiming that a Pennsylvania woman, who is seen in videos inside the Capitol, stole a laptop or hard drive from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office with the intention of selling it to Russia.

Key Facts

The FBI is seeking Riley June Williams for her alleged involvement in the Capitol riots on charges of entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct, according to an affidavit signed Sunday.

The agency is also investigating a claim made by a “former romantic partner” of Williams that she stole a laptop or harddrive from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office with the intention of selling it to a Russian intelligence agency.

Williams “intended to send the computer device to a friend in Russia, who then planned to sell the device to SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service,” the witness said, adding that the transfer “fell through for unknown reasons.”  

The witness said Williams still has the computer or has destroyed it and the agency states that the “matter remains under investigation.”

It is not clear whether the FBI has managed to arrest Williams and the affidavit reports that she appears to have “fled” having packed a bag, deleted her social media accounts and “told her mother she would be gone for a couple of weeks.”

Key Background

Amid the horrifying reports of rioters storming the Capitol on January 6, images of a pro-Trump mob accessing official computers prompted particular concern from security experts. A spokesperson for Pelosi said a laptop “only used for presentations” had been stolen from the speaker’s conference room — it’s unclear whether this is the same device spoken about in Williams’ affidavit — Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said his iPad had been stolen and Sen. (D-Or) Jeff Merkley’s laptop was stolen. It’s unclear whether other devices or harddrives have been removed from the Capitol complex alongside a number of other goods stolen, including speaker Pelosi’s lectern, which has since been found and returned. 

What To Watch For

The Capitol is on high alert ahead of Inauguration Day Wednesday. Some 25,000 National Guard troops are expected to be in D.C. for the event and are being vetted ahead of time. 

Further Reading

Clyburn’s Ipad, Laptop From Pelosi’s Office: Items Stolen, Destroyed In Capitol Attack (Forbes)

FBI investigating whether woman stole laptop from Pelosi’s office to sell it to Russia (Politico)

Capitol Hill Mob Accessed Congressional Computers—‘Consider Them All Compromised’ (Forbes)

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