In a statement issued on Monday (February 20), ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson (Miss.), ripped into House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA.) for providing Fox News’ Tucker Carlson with thousands of hours of January 6, 2021 riot footage.
Thompson argued he couldn’t “overstate” the potential “security risks” should Carlson use the footage recklessly.
Axios was the first to break the news that McCarthy gave Carlson 41,000 hours of footage of the January 6 riot, something a Fox News spokesperson later confirmed to other news outlets.
Following the publishing of the story, Thompson released a statement arguing that if the House Speaker had “indeed” shared the footage with Carlson — who Thompson claimed “routinely spears misinformation” — “he owes the American people an explanation.”
Thompson added that the explanation should include why McCarthy did it and the steps he took to “address the significant security concerns at stake.”
Thompson was the chairman of the January 6 Select Committee, which investigated the events surrounding the attempted insurrection for nearly 18 months before it released its report in the final weeks of the last Congress.
The Committee interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses, extensively reviewed footage from the riot, and read through a trove of documents during its investigation.
Despite this, Carlson accused the panel of “lying” about the events of January 6 and bragged about Fox News not covering the proceedings, which he described as “propaganda.”
Although McCarthy hasn’t commented on the validity of reports he handed Carlson nearly three times the amount of footage the U.S. Capitol Police gave the January 6 Panel, he has asserted he believes more information about the events should be made public.