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Speaker Johnson: GOP Will Blur Faces In Released Jan. 6 Footage To Protect Them

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


House Speaker Mike Johnson said that the faces of protesters who made it inside the U.S. Capitol Building following a riot on Jan. 6, 2021, will be blurred to protect them from prosecution by the Biden Justice Department.

At a press conference on Tuesday, the Louisiana Republican said, per The Hill: “We have to blur some of the faces of persons who participated in the events of that day because we don’t want them to be retaliated against and to be charged by the DOJ and to have other concerns and problems.”

“We’re working steadily on it. And we’ve hired additional personnel to do that,” Johnson added. “And all of those tapes, ultimately at the end, will be out so everybody can see them.”

Following his remarks, Johnson’s deputy chief for communications explained that the blurring is necessary to prevent all forms of retaliation and that the DOJ already has access to the raw footage.

“Faces are to be blurred from public viewing room footage to prevent all forms of retaliation against private citizens from any non-governmental actors. The Department of Justice already has access to raw footage from January 6, 2021,” Deputy Chief for Communications Raj Shah tweeted.

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The Hill reported: The House Administration Oversight Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), has led the effort to re-investigate Jan. 6 and the Democratic-controlled select committee that probed the attack—and particularly former President Trump’s role in it—in the last Congress. 

Before the initial release of some footage, Johnson said last month that processing of the clips “will involve blurring the faces of private citizens on the yet-unreleased tapes to avoid any persons being targeted for retaliation of any kind.”

“I don’t think partisan elected officials in Washington should present a narrative and expect that it should be seen as the ultimate truth,” Johnson said of the Capitol riot.

“The release of the January 6 tapes is a critical exercise. We want transparency,” Johnson added. “House Republicans trust the American people to draw their conclusions.”

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“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 further 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.

“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 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.

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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.

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