A laptop that was reportedly stolen out of the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) during last week’s Capitol siege is quickly becoming a major source of disinformation. Forged leaks are already appearing online, and many more may be coming.
The device went missing after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the halls of government and ransacked Pelosi’s office during an attempt to stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College votes.
Since Election Day, a growing subset of Trump’s followers have become increasingly radicalized by conspiracy theories that claim the 2020 presidential election was stolen due to widespread voter fraud.
The false claims, which originated on far-right forums and among prominent conspiracy theorists, have been repeatedly promoted by the president as well as other conservative lawmakers.
The misguided belief that democracy was crumbling before them ultimately led Trump’s most ardent loyalists to breach the Capitol, resulting in the death of five people in the process. In reality, it was the group’s actions that constituted the most substantial attack on democracy in modern memory.
Drew Hammill, an aide to Pelosi, stated on Twitter last week that the laptop in question, which was reportedly left in a conference room, had only been used for presentations.