A few months back, Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy spent a good, long time claiming that while access to U.S. Capitol security camera footage during the Jan. 6 insurrection might have been provided exclusively to now-departed Fox News conspiracy peddler Tucker Carlson, that was only the first supposed step to more broadly releasing the footage to actual news networks or to the general public.
And that was the last we heard about any such “broader” release—until last week. On Wednesday, conspiracy crank and actual House Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene herself took to Twitter to announce that two more hard-right Republican propagandists would now also get full access to the footage: disgraced once-reporter John Solomon, who acted to launder anti-Ukraine conspiracy theories crafted by Rudy Giuliani, and conspiracy promoter Julie Kelly, whose claims to fame include calling a police officer wounded during the insurrection a “crisis actor,” claiming the very real pipe bombs planted at the Democratic and Republican National Committee offices to be a “hoax,” and pronouncements that arrests of Jan. 6 insurrectionists prove Joe Biden to be a worse dictator than Russian strongman Vladimir Putin.
Those two voices are considerably further along the paranoid conspiracy crank spectrum than Tucker Carlson could ever claim to be, and the fact that it was Marjorie Taylor Greene making the announcement strongly suggested that she was the one who pulled the strings to make sure these particular hoax promoters got access to the security footage even while McCarthy was blocking actual news outlets from getting the same access.
Now, however, we also know who will not be getting access to the footage, either now or ever: actual news outlets. Greene again took to Twitter and to conspiracyland to explain why the broader public would never be allowed to see the same footage that Republican hoax promoters have been able to comb through.
Her reasoning? If those tapes are released more widely, Republican opponents could use them to find and report other criminal acts by insurrectionists that day.
“If we release all the J6 tapes widely for the public, we would endanger many Americans who were simply standing on the Capitol grounds, maybe never even walked through the Capitol or committed any crimes,” Greene tweeted. “Soros groups dox these people then give their information to the FBI.”
That’s a pretty straightforward explanation from Greene, even if it is attached to yet another antisemitic conspiracy theory. If the footage is released to anyone who is not a backer of the Jan. 6 insurrectionists, it may result in the criminal prosecution of even more of the rioters, and House Republicans don’t want that to happen.
Demands by legitimate journalists that they be allowed to look through the same security footage that House Republicans have now provided to at least three known pro-Republican propagandists, then, are likely to be stonewalled indefinitely. Any legitimate reporter would be looking at the footage in an attempt to identify violent acts that the public didn’t yet know about; it’s only pro-insurrection “news” programs that would intentionally bury that footage to highlight instead, as Carlson did, footage of rioters taking pictures or otherwise behaving as “tourists” after stepping over the blood of police officers and security officials to breach the building.
From the beginning, McCarthy was accused by critics of providing sensitive and secret Jan. 6 security camera recordings to Tucker Carlson’s show as a means of promoting the sort of pro-insurrectionist conspiracy theories that Carlson so swiftly attempted to invent. Now the evidence is indisputable. Republicans are granting that sensitive access only to propagandists known for peddling hoaxes for the sake of blurring Republican-backed crimes and scandals, and will be blocking the rest of the public from seeing that same footage, because the footage shows even more criminal acts than the FBI has yet been able to prove.
Even two years later, House Republicans are pulling out all the stops to protect those who attacked the Capitol on Donald Trump’s behalf. They’ll hide whatever evidence they can hide, all while boosting those willing to lie about the crimes.