Federal prosecutors yesterday released a new collection of U.S. Capitol surveillance videos from Jan. 6 after a judge ordered them to do so.
US District Chief Judge Beryl Howell rejected the government’s argument that making the clips public could pose a “National security” risk.
Candace Owens shared one of the videos, which showed Trump supporters walking around the building and entering in an orderly, peaceful fashion.
“It’s here, guys! The footage from inside the Capitol that prosecutors didn’t want released for ‘national security’ reasons,” Owens exclaimed.
Owens then said sarcastically, “As you can see it was EXACTLY like 9/11 and Pearl Harbor and the media and Democrats were not at all lying to smear Trump and his supporters.”
It’s here, guys! The footage from inside the Capitol that prosecutors didn’t want released for “national security” reasons.— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) September 22, 2021
As you can see it was EXACTLY like 9/11 and Pearl Harbor and the media and Democrats were not at all lying to smear Trump and his supporters. https://t.co/mRWaofukCL
Buzzfeed’s Zoe Tillman had shared the original tweet of the footage and was triggered after many who responded didn’t give the response she expected.
Tillman then shared some other videos that she deemed to be not as peaceful and said, “I see some readers are promoting some newly-released Capitol surveillance footage as evidence Jan. 6 wasn’t violent.”
It seems clear that Buzzfeed was expecting the footage to be damning against the “insurrectionists” and are likely frustrated that the footage ended up being mundane.
Buzzfeed reported that the government opposed making the videos public and in response to a petition filed by the media coalition, prosecutors wrote that the videos featured nonpublic information about entrances and exits around the Capitol, and that releasing them would “compromise the security of the United States Capitol and those who work there.”
“This footage, when combined with other footage from nearby cameras, could be used to track individual rioters moving through the building thereby creating a visual pathway which other bad actors could use in planning their breach point and pathway for future attacks,” prosecutors wrote.
Lawyers for the media coalition argued the government’s national security concerns were too speculative and undermined by the fact that prosecutors in a few other cases had voluntarily released some surveillance footage.
Howell sided with the media coalition, writing in a Sept. 15 opinion that the national security concerns weren’t specific enough. The government might have a stronger case for keeping videos secret that revealed “sensitive” parts of the building, but that wasn’t at issue, she wrote — anyone taking a public tour could see the areas shown in these videos.
“Hundreds of cases have arisen from the events of January 6, with new cases being brought and pending cases being resolved by plea agreement every week,” Howell wrote. “The public has an interest in understanding the conduct underlying the charges in these cases, as well as the government’s prosecutorial decision-making both in bringing criminal charges and resolving these charges by entering into plea agreements with defendants.”
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