Rep. Kevin McCarthy in July 2021 in Washington, DC. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
A group of news organizations asked House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Friday for thousands of hours of Capitol surveillance footage from the Jan. 6 riot after he gave exclusive access to Fox News' Tucker Carlson.
The big picture: Top congressional Democrats blasted McCarthy for handing over the footage to Fox News in the first place, calling it an "egregious security breach" that exposes the Capitol complex.
- McCarthy's office did not immediately return Axios' request for comment.
Driving the news: Attorney Charles Tobin sent a letter to congressional leadership on behalf of 10 media organizations, including Axios, CNN and Politico, to request all closed-circuit surveillance camera footage recorded on Jan. 6, 2021, inside and around the Capitol.
- "The incredible public interest in understanding what transpired on January 6 crosses party lines," the letter states.
- "Without full public access to the complete historical record, there is concern that an ideologically-based narrative of an already polarizing event will take hold in the public consciousness, with destabilizing risks to the legitimacy of Congress, the Capitol Police, and the various federal investigations and prosecutions of January 6 crimes," it continues.
- Another group of news outlets, including the Associated Press, NBC News, the New York Times and the Washington Post, also requested access.
- Tobin said he also sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Department of Justice and the FBI.
Meanwhile, McCarthy defended his decision to give Carlson — who has repeatedly downplayed official accounts of the Capitol riot — the footage.
- He told the New York Times: "I was asked in the press about these tapes, and I said they do belong to the American public. I think sunshine lets everybody make their own judgment."
- House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said earlier this week that his team is dealing with the potential national security implications of that decision.
Editor's note: Axios is one of the news organizations requesting access to the Capitol surveillance footage from the Jan. 6 riot.
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