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House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) is sticking by a promise he made to release nearly all of the video surveillance footage from the day of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol Building.
“When I ran for Speaker, I promised to make accessible to the American people the 44,000 hours of video from Capitol Hill security taken on January 6, 2021. Truth and transparency are critical. 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 noted in an X post.
“In the meantime, a public viewing room will ensure that every citizen can view every minute of the videos uncensored,” he continued.
The faces of private citizens will be blurred to ensure that no one is “targeted for retaliation of any kind,” his office noted, per the UK’s Daily Mail. He added that about 5 percent of the footage would not be released to protect sensitive security information.
“I commend Chairman Loudermilk and his team for their diligent work to ensure the thousands of hours of videos are promptly processed to be uploaded to the committee’s public website,” Johnson noted further on the X platform.
“Processing will involve blurring the faces of private citizens on the yet unreleased tapes to avoid any persons from being targeted for retaliation of any kind and segregating an estimated 5% of the videos that may involve sensitive security information related to the building architecture,” he said.
When I ran for Speaker, I promised to make accessible to the American people the 44,000 hours of video from Capitol Hill security taken on January 6, 2021. Truth and transparency are critical. Today, we will begin immediately posting video on a public website and move as quickly…
— Speaker Mike Johnson (@SpeakerJohnson) November 17, 2023
By early Saturday morning, about 90 hours of video had been released. The footage may be accessed and viewed here.
Reaction poured in on social media to Johnson’s announcement.
Eat it Liz Cheney!!!
— Myrna 💋💄 (@GigaBeers) November 17, 2023
Adam Kinzinger just pissed himself.
— Gunther Eagleman™ (@GuntherEagleman) November 17, 2023
This is actually a great disturbance in the Force. Millions of liberal “voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced”
— It’s 🇺🇸 Tiff 🇺🇸 (@TiffMoodNukes) November 17, 2023
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who led the effort to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and has been behind the effort to get all of the video footage released, praised Johnson for his decision.
“You won’t always agree with @SpeakerJohnson – but know this: HE WON’T LIE. If he says he is going to do something, he is going to do it. Thank you for keeping your word on the J6 tapes, Mr. Speaker. It is a refreshing thing in the Swamp of DC,” he tweeted.
“Doing what he said he would do. Good,” Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, added on X.
Earlier in the year, while he was still Speaker, McCarthy released some footage to then-Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Axios co-founder Mike Allen reported: “Carlson TV producers were on Capitol Hill last week to begin digging through the trove, which includes multiple camera angles from all over Capitol grounds. Excerpts will begin airing in the coming weeks.”
Shortly afterward, several media organizations sent House leadership a letter demanding equal access to the footage.
Gaetz said McCarthy agreed to do so as part of a deal to win his and Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-Colo.) support, two Republicans in a group of about 20 that held back their support for days, denying him the speaker’s gavel.
“The American people deserve to know the truth about what happened on January 6th. We have demanded to see all the footage. Transparency is coming,” Gaetz said. “Every time from the JFK files, to 9/11, to now January 6th. It’s our own government, our own Department of Justice that seems to stand in the way of transparency.”
He also doubled down on his call to bring in more CSPAN cameras to the House floor.
“If we had cameras on the floor, my suspicion is we would have far better attendance during debates that impact the lives of our fellow Americans,” he said.