Prosecutors lost a battle to keep some of the 14,000 hours of January 6 surveillance video that was accumulated by the FBI out of the public view. And much to anti-Trump Democrats’ chagrin, social media is already having a field day with it. Buzzfeed’s Zoe Tillman who broke the tough news:
Federal prosecutors on Tuesday released a new collection of Capitol surveillance videos from Jan. 6 after a judge ordered them to do so, rejecting the government’s argument that making the clips public could threaten the security of the complex.
The disclosure marks a setback for the US Capitol Police and the US attorney’s office in their efforts to control how much footage from the Capitol’s closed-circuit video (CCV) system gets out. In the latest case, prosecutors argued that revealing the location and vantage points of more cameras could help “bad actors” trying to plan some future assault on the building. A judge concluded that argument was too speculative, however, and that the public had a strong interest in seeing videos that formed the basis for a recent plea deal.
US District Chief Judge Beryl Howell ordered the videos released in response to a request from a media coalition (including BuzzFeed News) that is petitioning judges on a rolling basis for videos that prosecutors have relied on in Jan. 6 cases. Howell’s decision isn’t binding on other judges in the US District Court for the District of Columbia presiding over Capitol riot prosecutions, but it gives the media coalition a favorable ruling to point to in future fights.
When some of this video made its way into the hands of the public, everyone could see exactly why the prosecution didn’t want it to get out: It doesn’t fit the narrative of the ‘deadly insurrection’ that the fake news media has been propagating. Watch for yourself:
Of course, this is just one example clip from the footage released. Zoe Tillman describes the gist of the newest footage release:
The clips cover a period of about 15 minutes on Jan. 6 — between 2:25 p.m. and 2:40 p.m. — in different locations inside the Capitol. They show rioters streaming through open doors and broken windows at an entrance on the Senate side; crowds of people walking into the Crypt, standing in a large crowd, and eventually dispersing; and, finally, rioters exiting as US Capitol Police officers in riot gear gather at the Senate entrance point to stand guard as a mob that’s outside looks in through the broken windows. There is no audio. The cameras are stationed up high and at a distance, providing a wide, stable perspective on the scene.
Tillman is far from a faithful narrator of the footage. She describes the event as an “insurrection,” instead of a riot, although no one has been charged for the “insurrection” and the FBI has not been able to determine that there was any centralized plot to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
There was, indeed, violence in some areas of the Capitol grounds on January 6. But it is not entirely clear that the worst offenders were Trump supporters, rather than anomalous extremists; it appears that the groups are all conflated into a misleading picture of what happened. There were Trump supporters who were merely let into the Capitol building by the Capitol police officers who were supposed to be protecting the building. Many of them merely walked around, took pictures, and protested in a reasonably orderly fashion. This is why many defendants are charged with crimes such as “trespassing” and “parading without a permit.”
It also appears from a time-stamped series of videos based on a restored Parler video archive that the Capitol protests escalated into riots in conjunction with indiscriminate police discharge of pepper spray and stun grenades into the crowd.
The new video release nonetheless provides more evidence that the picture portrayed by the media, that the January 6 riot was an existential threat to the republic, is quite demonstrably a false one. A number of commentators drove this point home:
Prosecutors didn’t want this Jan 6 footage to come out. Now it was 1.5 million views. Why is that? pic.twitter.com/n0MQICC0HL
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) September 23, 2021
The Biden DOJ tried to suppress this video which shows January 6 protesters entering the Capitol with no apparent resistance from a multitude of cops and armed securityhttps://t.co/zLAs1qCJ2J
— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) September 23, 2021
— il Donaldo Trumpo (@PapiTrumpo) September 23, 2021
This isn’t even all of the videos. Who knows what other embarrassments for the media lie in the rest of the 14,000 hours of January 6 footage?
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.