What we know about McCarthy’s decision to grant Tucker Carlson exclusive access to January 6 security camera footage

Kevin McCarthy (left) and Tucker Carlson

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (left) and Fox host Tucker Carlson (left: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images; right, Seth Wenig/AP

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) has given Fox News host Tucker Carlson exclusive access to thousands of hours of security footage recorded during the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. It is reported.

beginning Reported Monday by Axiosthe decision to turn over a pile of classified security footage to Carlson, who has promoted numerous Jan. 6 conspiracy theories on his show, has sparked criticism from many Democrats.

“It is difficult to overstate the potential security risks if this material is used irresponsibly,” said the now-deceased former chairman of the House Select Committee to investigate the Jan. 6 riots. Rep. Benny Thompson said: The statement issued late Monday.

Pro-Trump mob breaks into Capitol on January 6, 2021

On January 6, 2021, a pro-Trump mob breaks into the Capitol. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

what is the picture in question?

Carlson and his Fox News producers were reportedly granted access to 41,000 hours of unreleased security footage from the Capitol riot shot from multiple different cameras.

The former House Select Committee investigating the riots was previously granted access to the full footage, and several excerpts from the tape were played at last year’s panel’s high-profile hearing. . However, the majority of the footage was not aired due to security concerns.

In a statement Monday, Thompson said, “When the task force obtained access to the U.S. Capitol Police video footage, it was treated very cautiously, given concerns about the security of lawmakers, staff, and the Capitol complex. was broken.

“Access was restricted to members and a handful of investigators and senior staff, and the release of the footage was coordinated in advance with the Capitol Police Department,” he continued.

Trump supporters crowd the steps of the Capitol

Trump supporters crowd the steps of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images)

Why did McCarthy give the footage to Carlson?

It is not clear whether McCarthy, who has not publicly commented on his decision to grant Carlson access to the footage, did so in consultation with Capitol Police, or what his ultimate motives were. In response to a request from Yahoo News to confirm whether the Capitol Police were consulted while traveling, Capitol Police Commissioner Tom Munger said, when we ask for it, we must give it to them.”

On his show Monday night, Carlson said he and his producer reviewed the footage, “trying to figure out what it means and how it contradicts the story that’s been told for two years. Carlson added that he hopes to publish his findings next week.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Who else saw the footage?

Defendants in federal court on criminal charges related to the riots were also granted access to thousands of hours of unreleased security footage from Jan. 6, but federal prosecutors maintain tight control over those videos. I fought to

By 2021, more than a dozen news outlets will sued for access to video. However, the videos have been released on a case-by-case basis in response to requests from the press, even after a federal judge in Washington, DC, determined that the public was keen to see some of the footage. rice field. played in court.

in 2021 Court submission Against the release of some of the footage demanded by the press, federal prosecutors argued: For a single video from that camera, the cat comes out of the bag. “

Supporters of former President Donald Trump during the Jan. 6 riots

Supporters of former President Donald Trump protest inside the Capitol on January 6, 2021. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

What do McCarthy and Carlson say about this footage?

During his campaign for the presidency, McCarthy promised that the newly elected Republican House majority would hold hearings over the security failures that led to the breach of the Capitol, and asked the selection committee for a possible review. McCarthy ignored a subpoena from the Special Committee for testimony regarding his own communications with then-President Donald Trump on January 6.

inside press conference last monthMcCarthy said he agreed with Republicans who had previously asked former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to release all footage of January 6, telling reporters, “The public should see what happened. I think,” he said.

A McCarthy spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment from Yahoo News.

Carlson’s selection as the sole recipient of the footage was a particular source of concern for some members of the Jan. 6 committee.

Carlson, one of the most watched primetime cable news hosts, has repeatedly used his platform to downplay the severity It cast doubt on the January 6 Commission’s findings into what happened on January 6, while fueling unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about the federal government’s alleged involvement in instigating the riots.

Carlson produced a three-part documentary last year called “The Patriot Purge” for Fox Nation. The documentary lays out his unsubstantiated argument that the attack on the Capitol on January 6th was orchestrated by shadowy forces within the government to justify targeting ordinary Americans. political beliefs.

In a statement to washington postRep. Jamie Ruskin, a Maryland Democrat who served on the Jan. 6 committee, said Carlson was “searching [the footage] For any kind of shot that could support this confused theory of what happened on January 6th.

“If you want tens of thousands of hours published, you have to make them available to all media, not just propaganda mouthpieces,” Ruskin says.

Thompson agreed. “If House Speaker McCarthy actually gave Fox host Tucker Carlson and his producers, who routinely spread misinformation and Putin’s toxic propaganda, access to this classified footage, why would he? We have an obligation to explain to the American public what we have done and what steps we have taken to address the serious security concerns at stake,” he said in a statement.

Carlson defended the decision to give him access to the footage, telling Axios that “there was never a good reason to keep this footage secret.”