An Overview of Events
No doubt if you have a toe in the INFOSEC world you’ve been listening for tidbits which may indicate the theft of information, via documents and devices during the insurrection which overran the Capitol building in Washington DC on January 6, 2021.
House majority whip, Jim Clyburn (D-SC) noted that an iPad was taken from his office. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that a laptop was taken from her suite. Her missing laptop was described as that which was used for presentations.
That two of the most senior members of the House majority would have their devices stolen should make everyone’s conspiratorial ears perk
up. ITV-News identified Riley Williams of Pennsylvania as allegedly being associated with the theft of Speaker Pelosi’s laptop. Williams, was identified in a video posted by ITV while she was giving directions to the insurrectionists to move to the second floor (where the Speaker’s offices are located).
Separately, via a statement of facts, presented to Judge Robin M. Weriweather, the DOJ has requested an arrest warrant for Williams. The ITV interview, supra, confirms via her mother, Wendy Williams, that Riley Williams is on the run and hasn’t been seen since Friday, 08 January.
You see, DOJ believes it is Riley Williams who possessed Speaker Pelosi’s device. In the days immediately after the January 6, 2021, event, an individual who had previously had a relationship with Williams called
the FBI identifying her as the individual in the ITV video taking the
This is where the story gets more interesting. This individual who had called the FBI said that it was there belief that Williams had “intended to send the computer device to a friend in Russia, who then planned to sell the device to the SVR (Russia’s foreign intelligence service). The witness continued that it was their belief that the attempt to get the device to Russia fell through (but not for lack of trying).
Harrisburg police officers interviewed Williams’ mother and were present when she made a video-call to her daughter (at the officer’s request). The call went through, and Williams was positively identified, but did not provide her location. On the 16th of January, Williams’ mother informed law enforcement that her daughter has taken off.
The court documents say, “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
Since the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Williams was arrested, jailed, and released into her mother’s custody. Additionally, she is required to wear an ankle monitor and only permitted to leave the premises for work or court appearances.
While some were inspired to stop the Electoral Vote, Williams was specifically targeting Speaker Pelosi’s office and had a plan in her head on the eventual disposition of any devices she may have been successful in
purloining. Indicative of a desire to not only damage the United States,
but to provide a leg up to an adversary, Russia.
Christopher Burgess (@burgessct) is an author and speaker on the topic of security strategy. Christopher, served 30+ years within the Central Intelligence Agency. He lived and worked in South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Central Europe, and Latin America. Upon his retirement, the CIA awarded him the Career Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the highest level of career recognition. Christopher co-authored the book, “Secrets Stolen, Fortunes Lost, Preventing Intellectual Property Theft and Economic Espionage in the 21st Century” (Syngress, March 2008). He is the founder of http://securelytravel.com.