Security Camera Footage

McCarthy’s Decision to Grant Tucker Carlson Exclusive Access to Jan. 6 Security Camera Footage

Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, is the speaker of the house., has reportedly given Exclusive access to thousands of hours of security footage shot during the January was given to Fox News host Tucker Carlson. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

The choice to give Carlson, who has endorsed numerous Jan. 6 conspiracy theories on his program, prompted criticism from many Democrats.

“It’s hard to overstate the potential security risks if this material were to be used irresponsibly,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., former chair of the now-defunct House select committee to look into the January 6 riot, in a statement issued late Monday.

What is the Footage in Question?

41,000 hours of unreleased security footage from the Capitol riot that was captured by numerous different cameras have reportedly been made available to Carlson and his Fox News producers.

The entire collection of footage was previously made available to the former House select committee looking into the uprising, and several clips from the tapes were played during the panel’s well-publicized hearings last year. However, because of security reasons, most of the footage was not broadcast.

“As soon as the Select Committee was granted access to U.S. Capitol Police video footage, it was treated with great sensitivity given concerns about the security of lawmakers, staff, and the Capitol complex,” Thompson said in his statement on Monday.

“Access was limited to members and a small handful of investigators and senior staff, and the public use of any footage was coordinated in advance with Capitol Police,” he continued.

Why Did McCarthy Give the Footage to Carlson?

It is unclear if McCarthy, who has not publicly addressed his choice to grant Carlson access to the footage, did so after consulting with Capitol Police or what his underlying motivation may be. In response to a request from Yahoo News to confirm whether Capitol Police were consulted on the move, Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said only: “We must comply with requests like this made by congressional oversight committees or leadership.”

On his program Monday night, Carlson said he and his producers were reviewing the footage, “trying to figure out what it means and how it contradicts or not the story we’ve been told for two years.” Carlson said he hoped to publish his findings the following week.

Who Else Has Seen the Footage?

Defendants in federal court for criminal charges in connection with the insurrection have also been given access to thousands of hours of unreleased security footage from Jan. 6, but federal prosecutors have successfully fought to maintain strict control over those videos.

More than a dozen media outlets filed lawsuits in 2021 to gain access to the videos. But even after a federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled that the public has a strong interest in seeing some of the footage, video has been released on a case-by-case basis in response to requests from news outlets only after they’ve been played in court.

In a 2021 court filing opposing the release of some of the footage sought by the news outlets, federal prosecutors argued that “once the capabilities of a The public now knows the location of the interior surveillance camera for the U.S. Capitol as well as whether it pans, tilts, or zooms thanks to the release of a single video from that camera.”

What Have McCarthy and Carlson Said About the Footage?

McCarthy pledged during his campaign for the speakership that the newly elected Republican House majority would hold hearings on the security lapses that resulted in the Capitol breach and gave the select committee the go-ahead to keep all of its records for potential review. McCarthy defied a subpoena from the select committee for testimony about his own communications with then-President Donald Trump on Jan. 6.

McCarthy said last month at a press conference that he agreed with Republicans who had previously urged former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to make the entirety of the Jan. 6 footage, telling reporters, “It should be made public, in my opinion.”

A request for comment from Yahoo News was not answered by a McCarthy spokesperson.

Some Jan members expressed particular concern over the decision to give Carlson the footage as the only recipient. 6 committee.

The host of the most-watched primetime cable news program, Carlson, has frequently used his platform to minimize the gravity of the Capitol attack and cast doubt on the Jan. 6 committee’s probe into what happened on Jan. 6, while elevating baseless conspiracy theories about the federal government’s alleged involvement in inciting the riot.

Last year, Carlson produced a three-part documentary for Fox Nation called “Patriot Purge,” which laid out his thinly sourced argument that the To justify targeting regular Americans for their political beliefs, the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol was planned by mysterious forces within the government.

Rep. David Price made a statement to the Washington Post. D.-Md. Jamie Raskin, who served on the Jan. 6 committee, suggested that Carlson would be “searching [the footage] for any kind of shot that could support this deranged theory of what happened on Jan. 6.”

“If you want to make tens of thousands of hours publicly available, then it should be available for all media, not for just one propaganda mouthpiece,” Raskin said.

Thompson concurred. “If Speaker McCarthy has indeed granted Tucker Carlson — a Fox host who routinely spreads misinformation and Putin’s poisonous propaganda — and his producers access to this sensitive footage, he owes the American people an explanation of why he has done so and what steps he has taken to address the significant security concerns at stake,” he said in his statement.

Carlson defended the decision to give him access to the footage, telling Axios “there was never any legitimate reason for this footage to remain secret.”

Read More: How Long Do Security Cameras Keep Footage?


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