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8 Jan, 2021 22:14

DOJ investigating whether ‘national security secrets’ stolen during US Capitol siege as more protesters are arrested

DOJ investigating whether ‘national security secrets’ stolen during US Capitol siege as more protesters are arrested

The Department of Justice is currently investigating whether any classified information was stolen during the US Capitol riot this week where numerous protesters gained access to lawmakers’ offices.

“National security equities” may have been taken when hundreds stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, the DOJ has warned. A laptop belonging to Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) has already been reported as stolen, and images from the breach showed individuals in the office of Rep. Nancy Pelsosi (D-California) while windows remained open on office computers. 

Michael Sherwin, acting US Attorney for the Washington DC, has noted that “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].”

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He warned that figuring out “what was stolen” will take days. 

The House Chief Administrative Office has said in a memo that the House network was not compromised. Staff were told to lock computers amid the protest.

The fallout from the breach of the US Capitol, which left five dead including a police officer, has thus far included the resignation of US Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund following pressure from lawmakers like Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York).

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Other Democrats have also called for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, as well as possible charges for helping to incite the riot – he spoke to the crowd at the Save America rally shortly before it went out of control.

A spokesperson for the DOJ said on Friday, however, that charges against Trump are not expected.

Multiple protesters involved in the breach have been identified and arrested, including Richard Barnett, who was pictured casually sitting at a desk in Pelosi’s office during the riot. 

Derrick Evans, a West Virginia state lawmaker, has also been arrested and charged after livestreaming his participation in the protest, according to officials.

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