Warner Urges Carriers, Tech Cos. to Preserve U.S. Capitol Attack Evidence

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U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), former telecommunications entrepreneur and incoming Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Monday urged mobile carriers AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon and technology companies Apple, Facebook, Gab, Google, Parler, Signal, Telegram, and Twitter to immediately preserve content and associated meta-data connected to Wednesday’s attack on the United States Capitol.

In all eleven letters to the companies’ CEOs, Warner emphasized how the rioters took the time to document the event “later posting them to their social media accounts or sharing them via text or mobile messaging platforms to celebrate their disdain for our democratic process.” Specifically, Warner asked the carriers to preserve “Short Message Service [SMS] communications and Multimedia Message communications created by or sent to subscribers during the period beginning at 12:01 a.m. January 3, 2021, through 12:01 a.m. January 7, 2021.” 

“The U.S. Capitol is now a crime scene,” wrote Warner in his letters.  

“The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are currently investigating the events of that day, and trying to piece together what happened and the perpetrators involved. The prospect of litigation on behalf of the victims of the mayhem also is highly likely,” he wrote. “Messaging data to and from your subscribers that may have participated in, or assisted, those engaged in this insurrection – and associated subscriber information – are critical evidence in helping to bring these rioters to justice.”

So far there have been at least 82 arrests, reported Reuters.

According to the Department of Justice, at least a dozen people were facing criminal charges in federal U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in connection to the riot, and at least another 40 people faced lesser charges in the District of Columbia Superior Court, a local venue. The cases are being prosecuted by the U.S Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and are being investigated jointly by the FBI; U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; United States Marshals Service; U.S. Capitol Police Department; and the Metropolitan Police Department.

The FBI and the Washington, D.C. Police Department’s homicide unit are jointly investigating the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was injured while defending the Capitol. Steven D’Antuono, the FBI Washington Field Office’s assistant director in charge, said on Friday that rioters who had since returned home were not safe from arrest. “Just because you’ve left the D.C. region, you can still expect a knock on the door if we find out you were part of the criminal activity at the Capitol,” D’Antuono said.

The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of an individual who planted pipe bombs at Democratic and Republican party headquarters. The ATF and FBI continue to urge the public to report suspected use of explosive devices, or violent, destructive acts associated with the recent unrest. Anyone with information can call 1-888-ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477) ,email: ATFTips@atf.gov or submit information anonymously via ReportIt.com.

The FBI is looking for individuals who may have incited or promoted violence of any kind. Anyone with digital material or tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or submit images or videos at fbi.gov/US Capitol.

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