Friday 8 January 2021 - 11:13

US National Security ‘At Risk’ as Laptop With ‘Sensitive’ Info Reportedly Missing After Capitol Riots

Story Code : 908885
US National Security ‘At Risk’ as Laptop With ‘Sensitive’ Info Reportedly Missing After Capitol Riots
The violence in the building that contains the Senate and the House of Representatives, that left five people dead and dozens arrested, may have far-reaching implications for national security as well.

Stolen and damaged items have since been reported by elected officials' offices, with the actions by the ‘insurrectionists’ potentially posing serious harm to the United States.

US Attorney Michael Sherwin said during a news briefing on Thursday that “a large amount of pilfering at the Capitol” had occurred, and materials were stolen. Ahead of a full accounting, that is yet to be carried out, he said: “We have to identify what was done, mitigate that, and it could have potential national security equities.”

Earlier, CBS News reported that a laptop possibly containing sensitive national security information was among the objects stolen as rioters ransacked the offices of lawmakers, rifled through computer files and emails, and pilfered personal electronics and documents.

Protesters who breached the Capitol building stormed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s chambers, with a man representing himself as Blaze reporter Elijah Schaffer sharing a photo of one of her laptops in a tweet.

He added that “emails are still on the screen alongside federal alert warning members of the current revolution.”

The laptop purportedly belongs to Pelosi’s Press Advisor Mia Ehrenberg.

Also reportedly breached during the riots was the office of member of Congress Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, who tweeted a video of what he called the “trail of destruction and looting.” He said that rioters had stolen a laptop left on his desk.

According to security and espionage experts cited by BuzzFeed News, highly sensitive information could have been taken in the chaos.

During the amount of time the mob was in control of the Capitol building, material that adversaries could potentially exploit against US interests might have been gleaned, they claim, while conceding that it is unlikely any foreign spies infiltrated Congress.

A former high-ranking FBI official with experience in the cyber unit was cited by BuzzFeed as explaining that “a lot of planning goes into an installation of a bug even though it may only take seconds to install.”

“I think it’s unlikely just based on my opinion the breach wasn’t premeditated to the point where someone could have done proper advanced planning for an install, but something crude could have been left behind,” said the former official.

In response to the current reports, the House of Representatives’ chief administrative officer said in a statement that it “took several actions” during the riot to protect Congress’s digital infrastructure, including “issuing commands to lock computers and laptops and shutting down wired network access.”

“At this time, there have been no indications that the House network was compromised,” says the statement.