In search of Pelosi’s laptop

Mark Thiessen — that’s Mark with a “k,” not to be confused with AEI’s Marc Thiessen — holds down the Alaska bureau of the Associated Press in Anchorage. He was well situated to cover the FBI’s raid at the highly rated Homer Inn & Spa resort in search of a laptop used by Nancy Pelosi that was stolen from the Capitol on January 6.

The FBI thinks they have their woman in one Marilyn Hueper. She owns the Homer Inn & Spa with her husband. The FBI seized her laptops and a cell phone during a raid at the inn this past Wednesday.

Hueper is talking and explains in a freewheeling way that this is a case of mistaken identity. The quotes in Thiessen’s story carry an inherent plausibility.

The FBI isn’t talking. Apparently Thiessen couldn’t find any unnamed sources “familiar with the investigation” to justify the ways of the FBI to man, a la the New York Times.

Here is Thiessen’s AP story:

Federal agents served a search warrant at a boutique resort in Homer, Alaska, saying they were looking for a laptop stolen from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, one of the Homer Inn and Spa owners said.

Agents on Wednesday confiscated laptop computers and a cellphone, owner Marilyn Hueper said. A cellphone belonging to her husband, Paul Hueper, was also forensically audited by agents but not confiscated, she said.

Marilyn Hueper said agents also claimed there was photographic evidence that she was inside the Capitol during the riot; something she denies. No arrests were made Wednesday.

The couple attended then-President Donald Trump’s rally in Washington on the day of the insurrection but denied entering the Capitol.

When agents arrived at their living quarters at the resort on Wednesday, she said agents told her she probably knew why they were there.

“I was like, ‘Yeah, no, not really,’” she told Kenai radio station KSRM. The Huepers did not immediately return a message The Associated Press left on the resort’s phone Friday.

“And they said, ‘Well, we’re here for Nancy Pelosi’s laptop.’ And I said, ‘Oh, so it was stolen and it’s at large, good to know. I thought maybe it was just conspiracy theory, so thanks for the intel,’” she said.

Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, confirmed Jan. 8 that a laptop was taken from a conference room but said “it was a laptop that was only used for presentations.”

Agents then asked her who she was working with, Marilyn Hueper said. She replied by starting to laugh, and then apologized to the agent. “I don’t mean to be disrespectful and laughing, but this is really surreal and strange,” she told the radio station.

Chloe Martin, a spokesperson for the FBI’s Anchorage field office, confirmed agents conducted a court-authorized law enforcement activity at the Homer Inn and Spa.

“While individuals are free to speak about their interactions with the FBI, we do not, as a matter of practice, discuss or describe any contact we have or allegedly have with individuals,” she said in a Friday email to the AP. “At this time, and until it reaches the public realm, we can’t discuss the details.”

Paul Hueper said he took a photo of his wife walking up the Capitol steps on Jan. 6, but they were no closer than 100 yards (91 meters) from the building entrance. He posted that photo on Instagram.

She said agents told her there was video footage of her in the building, but Marilyn Hueper claims it’s a case of mistaken identity.

Agents showed her photos of a woman wearing a black Columbia coat with white lettering on the left shoulder, the same as she was wearing, Marilyn Hueper said, acknowledging both women were close in age with a similar hairstyle.

That is where the similarities ended, she told the station. The woman was wearing a sweater that Marilyn Hueper claimed she would never own, and she said she has attached earlobes.

“This chick looks like she has detached earlobes, which makes me jealous,” Marilyn Hueper said of the woman in the screen grabs. “I’ve always wanted detached earlobes.”

Homer is located about 120 miles (193 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage.

Hueper doesn’t sound too choked up about the whole affair. She must be one cool customer to leave us with the reflection that “I’ve always wanted detached earlobes.”

The Anchorage Daily News publishes its story with the composite photo below. The caption reads: “This composite photo illustration shows a photograph of Homer resident Marilyn Hueper, left, taken on Jan. 6, 2021 and provided by Hueper, next to two images (on the right) published by the FBI showing an unidentified woman in the U.S. Capitol on the same date.”

The ADN interviewed Hueper. Its story goes into more detail on the raid and Hueper’s interrogation by the FBI:

Hueper said the agents broke down her door Wednesday morning as she, her husband and some guests were asleep.

When she asked why they didn’t just knock, she was told that they did, but no one answered, so the agents went to get breakfast. When they returned, they knocked again, and when no one answered, they broke open the door, she said.

Hueper said the officers had guns drawn and handcuffed her, her husband and their guests. She and her husband were put in different rooms and couldn’t see what was happening as the officers searched, according to Hueper.

An officer pulled out a photo of a woman in the Capitol on Jan. 6 and asked if she knew who the woman was. Hueper was surprised, she said, because the woman looked like her and had a coat like one she owns. But Hueper said she’s never had a sweater like one the woman was wearing in a second picture.

This is also of interest:

Hueper said she was able to point to other photos, provided later in the interview, to show differences in her appearance from the woman shown. The woman in the photo has detached earlobes — hers are attached. The other woman also has a different brow shape, Hueper said, adding that she’s never worn the kind of high boots that the woman wore.

“I’m like, ‘Wait a minute. Is that her? That’s clearly not me. Why did you not show me this to start with?’ ” Hueper said.

Hueper said officers left a copy of the search warrant when they left after about four hours. She believes about a dozen officers were present, but she’s not sure.

She declined to provide a copy of the search warrant but said it allows the FBI to “collect information related to the breach and et cetera, you know, the shenanigans in the Capitol.”

She said the warrant doesn’t specifically name Pelosi, but she was told by officers that they are looking for that laptop.

The FBI also seized Rudy Giuliani’s laptops and cell phones on Wednesday. I hope they don’t confuse Giulian’s devices with Hueper’s. If Hueper emerges unscathed, her story may have the makings of a Coen Brothers comedy like Burn After Reading.

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