By Joseph M. Hanneman of Epoch Times
More than 40,000 hours of Jan. 6 Capitol Police security video will be made public on a dedicated website starting immediately and ramping up in the coming months, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) announced on Nov. 17.
However, individual video clips released to media or other requesters will have the faces of identifiable individuals blurred, a senior congressional aide told The Epoch Times. That restriction drew immediate fire from some Jan. 6 criminal case defendants.
“So while we are significantly expanding the amount of clips that will be available and who can request them, we will be blurring faces with respect to individuals who are identifiable,” the source said.
“To restore America’s trust and faith in their government we must have transparency,” Johnson wrote on X.com. “This is another step towards keeping the promises I made when I was elected to be your Speaker.”
Follow the link below to view the January 6th tapes for yourself.
To restore America’s trust and faith in their Government we must have transparency. This is another step towards keeping the promises I made when I was elected to be your Speaker.
This website will be updated…
— Speaker Mike Johnson (@SpeakerJohnson) November 17, 2023
The Committee on House Administration’s Subcommittee on Oversight, chaired by Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), has already posted 90 hours of Capitol security video in the online viewing room. The initial release includes footage previously provided to various media outlets.
“The goal of our investigation has been to provide the American people with transparency on what happened at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and this includes all official video from that day,” Mr. Loudermilk said in a statement. “We will continue loading video footage as we conduct our investigation and continue to review footage.”
More videos will be added to the public site on “a rolling basis,” the source said.
“By current estimates, there are roughly 40,000 hours that we will be making public over the next few months as quickly as we can,” the congressional aide said.
Some video will be withheld if it is deemed “security sensitive” or if it could “potentially provide a roadmap for doxxing and harassing private individuals,” the aide said.
Beginning on Nov. 20, members of the public will also be able to view footage on terminals in the committee’s offices on Capitol Hill, the source said.
Those wishing to view the video at committee offices will have to request a time slot by emailing email@example.com.
In-person viewing on the congressional video terminals offers advantages over the online viewing room. In-person viewers can select individual cameras from an interactive Capitol map and narrow the footage by timeframe.
The in-person system has maps for each level of the Capitol. The Capitol grounds are separated into zones, with the camera locations indicated by small icons. Viewers can access the entire database, whereas the online viewing room will be stocked with tranches of footage on a rolling basis.
The announcement came amid mounting pressure from the public and Jan. 6 defendants to get access to the security video. Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) earlier this year said he would release Jan. 6 video footage, but that commitment never resulted in the public getting direct access.
The viewing room setup and the plans to blur faces on video clips given to media or the public drew some fire on social media.
“Releasing batches of J6 CCTV is merely a way for Congress to pretend they are making the tapes public while holding back important footage they will ‘someday’ get to us in a ‘future’ batch,” Will Pope, a Jan. 6 defendant, wrote on X. “They gave it ALL to the FBI in January 2021! Americans deserve it ALL in one batch, too!”
Mr. Pope said blurring the faces of those shown in the downloadable videos will erode public trust. He called the Nov. 17 announcement a “publicity stunt.”
“Americans will never trust blurred and edited J6 footage,” he wrote.
Some commenters on social media asked how they can be sure the files posted online have not been altered.
During a Spaces online meeting on X, several of the more than 800 participants said they expect Google and YouTube to censor not only news about the Jan. 6 video releases but also any video clips people try to upload to social media. Others said they do not understand why the online viewing room does not have a download function.
Congressional sources said the public can request downloadable videos based on their research, but all clips are subject to committee approval and will be processed to blur the faces of identifiable persons.
Earlier this year The Epoch Times gained access to the Capitol Police database of nearly 1,700 cameras for Jan. 5 and 6. Based on research done on video terminals on Capitol Hill, the newspaper requested and was given dozens of individual clips that were used in the special report The Jan. 6 Tapes.