FEATURED PHOTO: HOUSE SPEAKER KEVIN MCCARTHY R-CA
Associated Press, By Lisa Mascaro, Garnoush Amiri and Mary Clare Jalonick, Posted March 2nd 2023
Thousands of hours of surveillance footage from the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol are being made available to Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson, a stunning level of access granted by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy that Democrats swiftly condemned as a “grave” breach of security with potentially far-reaching consequences.
The hard-right political commentator said his team is spending the week at the Capitol poring through the video and preparing to reveal their findings to his viewers. But granting exclusive access to sensitive Jan. 6 security footage to such a deeply partisan figure is a highly unusual move, seen by some critics as essentially outsourcing House oversight to a TV personality who has promoted conspiracy theories about the attack.
“It’s a shocking development that brings in both political concerns but even more importantly, security concerns,” said Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., who was a chief counsel during President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial.
Many critics warn that Capitol security could be endangered if Carlson airs security footage that details how the rioters accessed the building and the routes lawmakers used to flee to safety. And a sharply partisan retelling of the Capitol attack could accelerate a dangerous rewriting of the history of what happened Jan. 6, when Trump encouraged a mob of supporters to head to the Capitol to overturn Joe Biden’s election.
“It is not lost on anyone that the one person that the speaker decides to give hours and hours of sensitive secret surveillance footage is the person who peddled a bogus documentary trying to debunk responsibility for the Jan. 6 riot from Donald Trump onto others,” Goldman said.
“Kevin McCarthy has turned over the security of the Capitol to Tucker Carlson and that’s a scary thought,” he added.
McCarthy’s office declined to confirm the arrangement, first reported by Axios, despite repeated requests for comment.
Gripping images and videos from the Capitol attack by Trump supporters have been widely circulated by documentarians, news organizations and even the rioters themselves. But officials have held back much of the surveillance video from hundreds of security cameras stationed in and around the Capitol that offer a detailed view of the grisly scene and the brutal beatings of police as they tried to stop the rioters.
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack went through a painstaking process to work closely with the U.S. Capitol Police to review and ultimately release approved segments of the surveillance footage as part of its public hearings last year.