National Security Secrets Stolen During Capitol Insurrection? DOJ Starts Probe as Senator Loses Laptop

Following the attacks on Capitol building on Wednesday by Trump supporters, the Department of Justice launched an investigation to find if classified information or documents related to national security were stolen by the attackers. After breaching the security perimeter and entering the building, rioters made their way to the offices of several lawmakers and staff members.

Thousands of Trump supporters launched an attack on the government building soon after Vice President Mike Pence told the lawmakers that he will not block the congressional certification of Joe Biden's victory. Quashing hopes of Trump and his supporters Pence, at the beginning of the joint session, had said that he did not believe he has the "unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted."

US Congress Lars Di Scenza / Wikipedia Commons

It Will Take Days To Find Out What Was Stolen

Concerns over rioters stealing sensitive and confidential documents were raised after multiple videos showed the attackers getting away with property placed inside the building.

In a briefing, the Justice department hinted at the possibility of 'National security equities' being among the records stolen from the Capitol.

According to Politico, Michael Sherwin, the acting U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., said that it will likely take "several days to flesh out exactly what happened, what was stolen, what wasn't." He noted that items, electronic items were stolen from senators' offices as well as documents and materials were stolen. "We have to identify what was done to mitigate that [damage]," he added.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) reported about his laptop being stolen during the insurrection. Images also popped up on social media of a rioter sitting on the desk of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The man, later identified as Richard Barnett, also waived a piece of mail stolen from Pelosi's office.

Following the ransacking of Senate Parliamentarian's office, piles of documents were scattered across the floor and into the hallway, reported Politico.

Staffers Asked to Check For Their Missing Equipment

In a memo, the House Chief Administrative Office said that there have been no indications about the House network being compromised.

House memo

Stating that the office issued commands to lock computers and laptops and shut down wired network access amid the protests, it asked the staff members to account for their IT equipment including pen drive, computer, laptop, mobiles phones and tablets/iPads.

"Until a full investigation can verify what "Top Secret" material was or was not stolen, America's national security is compromised. All because TrumpCOVID19 incited his mob to invade the Capital building. @VP refused to invoke the 25th Amendment. @SenateMajLdr must do it. Now," a user tweeted.