House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reportedly has given Tucker Carlson exclusive access to tens of thousands of hours of surveillance footage from the attack on the Capitol, a move that is drawing concerns among former members of the January 6th Committee that the video will be misused.
Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republicans who sat on the committee, said on CNN that a fear is that clips will be taken out of context or even manipulated to bolster false claims. He said that the concern is that producers will be “cutting little bits of this and saying something it isn’t.”
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Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), who chaired the committee, said that “it’s hard to overstate the potential security risks if this material were to be used irresponsibly.”
“If Speaker McCarthy has indeed granted Tucker Carlson — a Fox host who routinely spreads misinformation and Putin’s poisonous propaganda — and his producers access to this sensitive footage, he 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,” he said.
Axios reported on Monday that McCarthy was providing the footage to Carlson and his team, with plans to start airing excerpts in the coming weeks. Carlson has amplified conspiracy theories surrounding the attack on the Capitol, including that it was a “false flag” operation to implicate Trump’s supporters.
On his show on Monday, Carlson said, “January 6th is a transformative event in this country. It’s been used to change the country. There are about 44,000 hours, and we have… been granted access to that. We believe that access is unfettered. We believe we have the right to see whatever we want to see.” He said his producers have been at the Capitol for about a week.
Carlson also said that his producers have been “trying to figure out what [the footage] means and how it contradicts or not the story that we have been told for more than two years. We think already in some ways it does contradict that story.”
Thomas Manger, the chief of the Capitol Police, confirmed giving the footage to McCarthy in a statement to The Washington Post. “When Congressional leadership or Oversight committees ask for things like this, we have no choice but to give it to them,” Manger said.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries wrote in a letter to Democratic members that McCarthy’s move “represents an egregious security breach that endangers the hardworking women and men of the United States Capitol Police, who valiantly defended our democracy with their lives at risk on that fateful day.”
Jeffries and Thompson noted that the January 6th Committee had protocols in place to access the information, with concerns over the safety of members, police officers and staff members “who were targeted during the violent insurrection.”
Thompson and Rep. Joe Morelle would address the situation with members “as we deal with the potential national security implications of this reported breach,” Jeffries wrote.
A spokesman for McCarthy did not immediately return a request for comment. A Fox News spokesperson referred to Carlson’s comments on his Monday show.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), one of McCarthy’s key backers in his fight to become speaker, praised his move. “For all of you that doubted we would release the tapes. Here you go! I’m very happy to be right again in my support for Kevin McCarthy as our Speaker. Americans deserve to see the truth, not a one sided narrative and unfair two tiered justice system,” she wrote. Greene has referred to the riot defendants as “political prisoners.”
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