FBI probes tip that woman stole laptop from Pelosi’s office to sell to Russia

A witness, described as a former romantic partner of the woman, dialled FBI’s telephone tip line, claiming that he spotted her in video footage taken from inside the US Capitol building.

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kunal Gaurav

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 10:41 PM IST

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is probing whether a woman from Pennsylvania, who was part of the mob that stormed the US Capitol on January 6, stole a laptop or hard drive from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and planned to sell it to the Russians. In an arrest warrant filed late Sunday, the federal agency said that it is seeking Riley June Williams on charges related to the breach of Capitol, adding that the feds are also investigating a claim that the woman stole a laptop or hard drive from Pelosi’s office.

According to the affidavit, a witness, described as a former romantic partner of Williams, dialled FBI’s telephone tip line, claiming that he saw Williams in video footage taken from inside the US Capitol building. The caller said that 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 further added that the plan fell through “for unknown reasons” and that Williams “still has the computer device or destroyed it.”

The FBI has reviewed a video report from ITV News, a British television network, in which Williams, wearing a green t-shirt and brown trench coat, is believed to be present. The agency stated that the woman can be seen physically directing other intruders to proceed up a staircase by repeatedly yelling “Upstairs, upstairs, upstairs.” The agency has confirmed with the Capitol police that the staircase depicted in the video leads to Pelosi’s office.

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“It appears that WILLIAMS has fled. According to local law enforcement officers in Harrisburg, WILLIAMS’ mother stated that that WILLIAMS packed a bag and left her home and told her mother she would be gone for a couple of weeks,” the affidavit says.

The woman did not provide any information to her mother about her intended destination and changed her telephone number. She has also reportedly deleted her social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Telegram, and Parler. Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff had earlier confirmed that a laptop was stolen from a conference room but was only used for presentations.

Over 125 people have been arrested in connection with the attack on the Capitol which had disrupted the Congressional proceedings for the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s win. The rioters stormed the Capitol building after the conclusion of outgoing President Donald Trump’s speech in which he repeatedly made baseless claims of electoral fraud.

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