The Capitol break-in on Jan. 6 led to missing items, including private laptops of key political figures. Senator Jeff Marley and Drew Hammill, spokesperson for Nancy Pelosi, stated that their laptops were taken.
Congressional offices were also looted, and investigations are underway. It will take “several days to flesh out exactly what happened, what was stolen, what wasn’t… items, electronic items were stolen from senators’ offices, documents and materials were stolen, and we have to identify what was done to mitigate that [damage],” Michael Sherwin, the acting U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., told Politico.
Representative Ruben Gallego even raised the possibility of foreign adversaries having used the attack as a cover to infiltrate the Capitol. This could have led to the theft of sensitive documents. In fact, a photo from the attack shows a person removing some of Pelosi’s mail. Gallego wants the Capitol to be searched for things that the protestors might have left behind, like listening devices.
The House Chief Administrative Officer Catherine Szpindor recently sent a memo to members informing them that the computer and Internet networks in the House were not compromised. It noted that the office had already shut down wired networks and locked their computers at the time of the protest due to which no digital theft is believed to have taken place.
Critical information like classified national security reports was stored in the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities, which were not breached on Jan 6. Some lawmakers are worried that members’ schedules might have been stolen, which could make some of them targets. The lawmakers have asked for a full and thorough appraisal of the items that are missing.
Following the breach of the Capitol, Chief of the United States Capitol Police force Steven Sund has resigned from the post. His resignation comes into effect on Jan. 16. Sund will be replaced by Yogananda Pittman, the first African American to hold the post.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Sund revealed that his requests for calling in the National Guard for assistance were thwarted by Senate and House security officials six times. Sund noted that if the National Guard had arrived in time, the protestors could have been held back longer. This could have also prevented the unfortunate deaths.
At least 25 cases of domestic terrorism have been opened by law enforcement agencies. U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy has warned that there could be further threats leading to Biden’s inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20. The Department of Defense is coordinating with federal and local law enforcement to tighten security leading up to it. Molotov cocktails, long guns, zip ties, and explosive devices were also recovered from the Capitol after the break-in.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam have issued a joint statement asking Americans not to participate in Biden’s inauguration ceremony.
“On January 20, there will be a transition of power, and we will work together, and with our partners in the federal government, to ensure the safety of the National Capital Region. Due to the unique circumstances surrounding the 59th Presidential Inauguration, including last week’s violent insurrection as well as the ongoing and deadly COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking the extraordinary step of encouraging Americans not to come to Washington, D.C. and to instead participate virtually,” read the statement.
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