WASHINGTON — A Republican-led House committee on Friday began posting internal video from the Jan. 6 riot to a public website, with House Speaker Mike Johnson vowing to make the footage “available to all Americans.”
“Today, we will begin immediately posting video on a public website and move as quickly as possible to add to the website nearly all of the footage, more than 40,000 hours,” Johnson, R-La., said in a statement.
“This decision will provide millions of Americans, criminal defendants, public interest organizations, and the media an ability to see for themselves what happened that day, rather than having to rely upon the interpretation of a small group of government officials,” he said, adding that requests for access to specific videos can also be made through the House Administration Committee.
The panel began by posting 90 hours of security video that had already been released to media outlets.
Rep. Joe Morelle, the top Democrat on the House Administration Committee, blasted Friday’s release of the footage.
“It is unconscionable that one of Speaker Johnson’s first official acts as steward of the institution is to endanger his colleagues, staff, visitors, and our country by allowing virtually unfettered access to sensitive Capitol security footage,” Morelle said in a statement. “That he is doing so over the strenuous objections of the security professionals within the Capitol Police is outrageous.”
Capitol Police declined to comment.
According to a senior congressional aide, and staff will be working to review, clear and release footage that does not compromise security on a rolling basis.
The 40,000 hours of video is expected to be made public “over the next few months,” the aide said, noting that footage that doxes, or harasses private individuals will not be posted.
Johnson’s announcement comes months after former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., provided exclusive access to then-Fox News host Tucker Carlson to security video from the Jan. 6 attack.
Rep. Barry Loudermilk, the chairman of the Administration Committee’s oversight subcommittee, said in September that security video from the Jan. 6 riot would be made available at terminals to representatives of U.S. news outlets, “qualifying” non-profit organizations, Jan. 6 defendants and others.
Loudermilk has been critical of the now-defunct House Jan. 6 committee, which released surveillance footage last year that showed Loudermilk giving a tour of the Capitol on Jan. 5.