The police — whose security-camera system captured video of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol — asked House Republicans to let them review every clip that would be made public for security reasons, Capitol Police lawyer Thomas DiBiase said in the six-page declaration. But DiBiase said he only viewed a single clip.
McCarthy gave Carlson exclusive access to 41,000 hours of video, something Carlson had suggested as a condition of his support for McCarthy’s long bid to win the speakership in January. Carlson has played down the deadly violence that occurred that day and claimed it was a “false flag” operation.
The police department did not learn about it until Feb. 20, two weeks before Carlson aired the footage on his March 6 and 7 programs.
On Feb. 28, McCarthy told reporters that he had been consulting with U.S. Capitol Police about the release of the footage. Carlson said on air that “before airing any of this video, we checked first with the Capitol Police. We’re happy to say their reservations were minor and for the most part, they were reasonable.”
That never happened, according to DiBiase’s declaration. A Capitol Police spokesperson also said after the footage aired that the department had repeatedly requested to review the clips and had not been able to.
At the Capitol on Friday, McCarthy said he had not read the police’s court filing and he instead reiterated his past claims that House GOP officials worked with the Capitol Police to determine which video clips were sensitive to security issues and should not be made public.
“We asked the Capitol Police for any, any clips that would give them a problem, any area. They brought up one … so we fixed that,” he told reporters.
When the police first provided the security footage to the Committee on House Administration, they were not told that anyone outside the committee would be reviewing the footage, DiBiase said.
DiBiase’s affidavit said people from Carlson’s show viewed footage while supervised by committee personnel before they were given any physical recordings. Even that is unusual, he indicated, saying that who can view footage is restricted by the police for security reasons and requests for clips are regularly denied, even in legal proceedings.
He did not say what the House committee’s response was to his requests to review the footage.
DiBiase said he had “numerous conversations” with the House committee asking to review the clips. The committee requested a list from DiBiase of cameras deemed to show sensitive security information, such as evacuation routes.
“I emphasized the Capitol Police’s desire to review every footage clip, whether it was on the Sensitive List or not, if it was going to be made public,” DiBiase wrote.
The only clip DiBiase saw was one that had been categorized as sensitive. DiBiase said it was “substantially similar” to a clip already publicly available, so he approved it. The other approximately 40 clips that he was not shown had not been labeled as sensitive.
Rioters who breached the Capitol on Jan. 6 assaulted law enforcement officers and damaged parts of the building and grounds, five people died as a result of the attack and 140 law enforcement officers were injured. DiBiase filed the affidavit as part of a case against two rioters, William Pope and Michael Pope. The brothers have been charged with obstruction of Congress, civil disorder, and trespassing and disorderly conduct allegations.
On his program, Carlson aired selectively edited security footage from that day and called it a mostly peaceful event. Critic say he twisted information into a false narrative. His program was denounced by some congressional Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), but McCarthy defended his decision to give Carlson the footage.
A spokesperson for Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This story will be updated.