Times-Call (Longmont)

Mccarthy gives Carlson access to footage from Capitol, raising alarms

- By Lisa Mascaro, Farnoush Amiri and Mary Clare Jalonick

WASHINGTON >> 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.

The chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, Tom Manger, issued a terse statement when asked about the new release of footage: “When Congressio­nal Leadership or Congressio­nal Oversight Committees ask for things like this, we must give it to them.”

House Democrats planned to convene Wednesday for a private caucus call to hear from Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-miss., who served as the chairman of the Jan. 6 committee, and others. House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries called Mccarthy’s decision an “egregious security breach” that threatens the safety of those who work at the Capitol.

“Unfortunat­ely, the apparent disclosure of sensitive video material is yet another example of the grave threat to the security of the American people represente­d by the extreme MAGA Republican majority,” Jeffries, D-N.Y. said in a letter to House colleagues.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-calif., the former chairwoman of the House Administra­tion Committee and a member of the committee that investigat­ed Jan. 6, said: “It’s really a road map to people who might want to attack the Capitol again. It would be of huge assistance to them.”

Carlson, who previously produced a documentar­y suggesting the federal government used the Capitol attack by Trump’s supporters as a pretext to persecute conservati­ves, confirmed that his team was reviewing the footage ahead of a possible airing.

“We believe we have secured the right to see whatever we want to see,” Carlson, who is the network’s most-watched prime-time host, said on his show Monday night.

It’s not clear what protocols Carlson and his team are using to view the material, but he said that “access is unfettered.”

The House committee investigat­ing Jan. 6 underwent an often intense process to review the tens of thousands of hours of footage as it documented its findings.

Over the nearly twoyear probe, the panel, which was disbanded once Republican­s took control of the House, created a secure room in their Capitol Hill offices for staff to comb through the more than 14,000 hours of footage. The process took months, according to a person familiar with the investigat­ion who requested anonymity to discuss the private machinatio­ns.

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