FBI investigating woman said to have stolen Pelosi’s laptop to sell to Russia

US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, speaks during her weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on January 15, 2021. – Pelosi tasks retired general Russel Honoré with the security review after US Capitol riot on January 6. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

SAUL LOEB | AFP | Getty Images

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has obtained an arrest warrant for a Pennsylvania woman alleged to have stolen a laptop from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, with the intention of selling the device to the Russian equivalent of the Central Intelligence Agency.

In an affidavit signed on Sunday, FBI Special Agent Jonathan Lund said the agency was investigating Riley June Williams after a person described as her “former romantic partner” told authorities that Williams intended to send the computer to a friend in Russia who would then pass it along to the SVR, the country’s spy force.

Lund wrote that the former romantic partner said the transfer of the laptop “fell through for unknown reasons” and that Williams either still has the device or destroyed it.

Williams appears to have fled, Lund wrote in his affidavit. Williams’s mother told local law enforcement in Harrisburg, Pa. that Williams had “packed a bag and left her home and told her mother she would be gone for a couple of weeks.”

“WILLIAMS did not provide her mother any information about her intended destination,” Lund wrote. “Sometime after January 6, 2021, WILLIAMS changed her telephone number and deleted what I believe were her social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Telegram, and Parler.”

Williams is charged with disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and entering a restricted building. She could not be reached for comment.

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi’s office, did not immediately respond to an inquiry. Hammill said shortly after the attack that a computer had been stolen, and that it was only used for presentations.

Lund’s affidavit says that Williams was identified after her ex-partner made several calls to the FBI tip line. The FBI also reviewed video from the riot that appears to show Williams at the Capitol ushering a mob up a staircase that leads to Pelosi’s office.

The affidavit also notes that law enforcement in Harrisburg met with Williams’s mother, who is not identified, on Jan. 11, after Williams’s mother filed a suspicious persons report. The officers at one point watched Williams and her mother speak over video chat, it says.

On Saturday, the officers again spoke with Williams’s mother, “who told them that a British media crew had come to her home the night before, asking to speak with WILLIAMS, who was not present.”

That same day, ITV News, a United Kingdom-based outlet, posted a video to its YouTube page title “Revealed: ITV News identifies protester who stormed the Capitol.” The video identifies “Riley Williams” as a “22-year-old care worker” from Pennsylvania.

The video shows Williams’s mother claiming her daughter recently became interested in President Donald Trump’s politics and message boards popular among the “far right.”

Williams’s father told police on Saturday that he had driven with Williams to D.C. for the protest but that the two did not stay together during the day. He said that they returned to Pennsylvania together, according to the affidavit.

Dozens of people have been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 riot, and federal authorities have said that hundreds could ultimately face charges.

Michael Sherwin, the acting United States attorney for the District of Columbia, has noted that it is likely that the relatively minor charges brought early on could be upgraded as the investigation continues.

Democratic lawmakers have asked the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to provide information on whether any foreign power had a role in exploiting the attack.

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