The FBI is investigating a woman suspected of stealing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s laptop or hard drive with the intention of selling it to Russia’s foreign intelligence agency.
According to Politico, the woman, Pennsylvania resident Riley June Williams, was already being sought for arrest on charges related to breaching the Capitol, including for entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct. But a witness, reportedly an ex of Williams’, has also identified her as the person who swiped the laptop that was reported missing from Pelosi’s office by a congressional aide shortly after the insurrection.
The witness told the FBI that they had seen video footage of Williams removing the device, and had reason to believe that she 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,” according to an affidavit. The footage included with the document shows a woman who has been identified as Williams yelling “upstairs, upstairs, upstairs” to fellow rioters, urging them in the direction of Pelosi’s office.
But the second part of Williams’s scheme fell through for “unknown reasons,” the affidavit continues, and the witness believes she’s either still in possession of the computer or has destroyed it. In the weeks since, it appears that Williams has fled: Her mother told the FBI that Williams packed a bag and told her that she would be gone for “a couple weeks” without informing her of her destination.
A couple of days after the Capitol insurrection, Pelosi’s chief of staff clarified that the laptop was “only used for presentations,” which sounds like a way of saying that this situation could’ve been much worse. I suppose it could have been—but nonetheless, I think we can all agree that it’s quite bad!
Though it did not appear to be the case that rioters set out with the intention of hacking into lawmakers’ computers or otherwise obtaining classified information for foreign interests, it seems like an inevitable side effect of such an enormous breach in national security. Someone also made off with a piece of Pelosi’s mail, and a reporter for the right-wing site Blaze posted a photo of what they claimed to be Pelosi’s computer screen, displaying her email inbox.
These are exactly the sort of reasons why you don’t let a white supremacist mob stream into the Capitol, I would argue. Along with all the others!