Footage from the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol will be subject to a security review before clips are handed to Fox News host Tucker Carlson to broadcast, according to Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), chair of the House Administration Subcommittee on Oversight.
Loudermilk said that his panel is working with the sergeant-at-arms and Capitol Police to make sure that none of the footage released will pose security risks.
“It’s basically controlled access to be able to view tapes. Can’t record, can’t take anything with you. Then they will request any particular clips that — that they may need, and then we’ll make sure that there’s nothing sensitive, nothing classified — you know, escape routes,” Loudermilk said Tuesday in response to a question from The Hill.
Carlson said on his show last week that his producers had “unfettered” access to some 44,000 hours of security footage from the day of the riot and that producers had already started combing through the footage.
But little had been revealed about what kind of security protocols were in place for the footage’s release.
Democrats have reacted to Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) move to grant Carlson’s team access to the footage with outrage, warning that giving raw footage to a figure who has downplayed the Capitol attack could pose security risks for members and the institution of Congress as a whole.
And other media companies have complained about the exclusive access Carlson was granted.
The decision to grant Carlson’s team exclusive access came directly from McCarthy’s office, and it came before the House Administration Committee was fully organized.
Loudermilk said he knew there were plans for Fox News to get access to the tapes, but he was not sure of when exactly that would take place. In the meantime, he knew the House had set up “access terminals” so Carlson’s team could securely view the footage.
House Republicans discussed the Jan. 6 tapes and Carlson’s access in their Tuesday morning conference meeting, and members said they were generally supportive.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) said in a press conference that “what gets released is going to obviously be scrutinized to make sure that you’re not exposing any sensitive information.”
Loudermilk’s oversight panel, he said, is investigating security failures and how rioters were able to get into the Capitol on Jan. 6 and is in possession of all the documents and videos from the Jan. 6 Select Committee that disbanded at the end of the last Congress.
“The overall objective will be eventually to get it to where we can get it out to the public,” Loudermilk said, but he added that it could take “weeks to months.”
The panel is getting requests to view some 44,000 hours of security footage from House members, other members of the media and defense attorneys.
“We’re working on putting protocols together and policies and procedures and schedules,” Loudermilk said.
He expects that clips released to Carlson could then easily be released to other news outlets and parties.
“Anything that is released to Fox News, that will be something that can be released to the public,” Loudermilk said.