The now-defunct Jan. 6 Committee’s chairman cautioned against the “potential security dangers” associated with releasing U.S. Capitol surveillance footage to the media.
After learning that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had given Fox News host Tucker Carlson access to 41,000 hours of Capitol security footage on the morning of January 6, 2021, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) released a statement, according to The Daily Wire.
“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
Snippets Will Air Soon
A spokesman for Fox News confirmed to members of the media that content referenced in the Axios would start airing in the upcoming weeks.
McCarthy “owes the American people an explanation of why” he provided the video with the Fox News host and “what steps he has taken to address the significant security concerns at stake,” Thompson claimed, alleging that Carlson is a distributor of false information.
The speaker did declare last month that he was planning to release the tapes because of the “politicization” he believed had been encouraged by former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the January 6 Committee. McCarthy has not yet made a public statement regarding the disclosure to Carlson.
During its summer hearings the previous year, the January 6 Committee did play-back some surveillance footage, one of which showed Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) jogging down a Capitol corridor.
Carlson told Axios that he doesn’t think the film was ever kept a secret for any “legitimate reason.”
Why they might want to keep it quiet
There are a number of reasons why someone in the government or law enforcement might not want footage of a public event to get into the hands of someone in the news media, particularly if the event is of interest to government officials.
A the top of the list would be security concerns, particularly if the public event involves sensitive information or is related to national security, allowing the footage to be disseminated in the media could compromise the safety and security of the people involved.
Officials could also be impacted by privacy concerns, if the public event involves individuals who have a right to privacy, such as victims of a crime or witnesses to an event.
Additionally, there could be political issues concerning officials, if the public event involves a controversial issue or event, allowing the footage to be spread by the media could create negative publicity or otherwise damage the reputation of the government or law enforcement agency involved.