House Homeland Security Committee ranking Democrat Bennie Thompson (Miss.) on Monday blasted Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for handing over tens of thousands of hours of riot footage from Jan. 6, 2021, to Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
“It’s hard to overstate the potential security risks if this material were to be used irresponsibly,” Thompson said in a statement.
McCarthy’s office granted about 41,000 hours of footage of the Capitol riots to Carlson, Axios first reported. A Fox News spokesperson confirmed the development to The Hill on Monday.
“If Speaker McCarthy has indeed granted Tucker Carlson — a Fox host who routinely spreads misinformation and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s poisonous propaganda — and his producers access to this sensitive footage, he owes the American people an explanation of why he has done so and what steps he has taken to address the significant security concerns at stake,” Thompson said.
The Mississippi Democrat headed the select House committee that investigated the Jan. 6 attacks for nearly a year and a half before releasing its final report in December. The committee had interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses, read through documents and reviewed troves of video footage of the riots during its investigation.
Carlson has accused the select committee of “lying” about what happened on Jan. 6, and has boasted that Fox News did not cover the proceedings, or what he called “propaganda,” on live television.
In 2021 he produced “Patriot Purge,” a documentary series that purports to tell an alternative story of the Jan. 6 insurrection and features at least one subject who suggests the event may have been a “false flag” operation. Fox News staffers were reportedly angered by the series, and at least two contributors to the network resigned in protest.
U.S. Capitol Police previously said that it had “cooperated extensively” with the select committee, noting that it provided 14,000 hours of footage to the panel.
During a press conference last month, McCarthy said he supported the idea of more footage from Jan. 6 being made public.
“I think the public should see what has happened on that,” he said.