The FBI is investigating whether one of the Capitol protesters stole a laptop or computer hard drive from the office of House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and tried to pass it to Russian intelligence.
According to court papers, the case against Pennsylvania woman Riley June Williams was outlined in an affidavit filed with the US District Court for the District of Columbia by an unnamed FBI agent.
As well as being accused of breaching the Capitol building and directing people to Ms Pelosi’s office, the affidavit says the Bureau received a tip from someone claiming to be a former romantic partner of Ms Williams saying 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”.
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The affidavit stated that according to the tip off, “the transfer of the computer device to Russia fell through for unknown reasons and Williams still has the computer device or destroyed it”.
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The theft of electronic devices during the 6 January invasion of the Capitol has been a persistent worry for US security services with Acting US Attorney Michael Sherwin saying some of the thefts might have potentially jeopardised what he described as “national security equities”.
Two days after the Capitol siege a spokesman for Ms Pelosi, Drew Hammill, confirmed that a laptop used for presentations had been stolen from a conference room in the Speaker’s office.
According to the FBI, it appearsWilliams has fled an address near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, that she shared with her mother, deactivated her phone number, and taken down social media accounts.