The chairman of the n0w-defunct January 6 Committee warned of the “potential security risks” of U.S. Capitol security footage being released to the media.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) issued a statement hours after Axios broke the news that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) gave Fox News host Tucker Carlson access to 41,000 hours of Capitol surveillance footage from the Jan. 6, 2021 — the day a crowd of people entered the U.S. Capitol, disrupting lawmakers who were meeting to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.
“When the Select Committee obtained 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.
“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. It’s hard to overstate the potential security risks if this material were to be used irresponsibly,” he added.
Statement from Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chaired the Jan6 committee, on @Axios report @SpeakerMcCarthy is giving special access to Jan 6 videos to Fox host. pic.twitter.com/Vsvbei7K6J
— Patricia Zengerle (@ReutersZengerle) February 20, 2023
A Fox News spokesperson confirmed the Axios report, which said excerpts will begin to air in the coming weeks, to the Daily Wire.
Claiming that Carlson is a purveyor of misinformation, Thompson said McCarthy “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.”
McCarthy has not yet commented publicly on the disclosure to Carlson, but the speaker did say last month he was looking to release the tapes because of the “politicization” he believed had been fostered by former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the January 6 Committee.
The January 6 Committee did air some clips of security footage during its summer hearings last year, including one showing Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) running though a Capitol hallway.
Carlson told Axios he believes there was “never any legitimate reason” for the footage to remain secret.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) said in a tweet the footage will also be available to January 6 defendants. “Americans deserve to see the truth, not a one sided narrative and unfair two tiered justice system,” she said in another tweet.
Meanwhile, another Democratic member of the January 6 Committee, Maryland’s Rep. Jamie Raskin, questioned whether the release of the tapes could become a “roadmap” for a 2024 “insurrection.”
Brandon Drey contributed to this report.