Despite Tucker Carlson's claim, Capitol Police say they didn't review Jan. 6 footage aired by Fox News

Carlson told viewers his team had consulted with Capitol Police on what to air.

March 18, 2023, 12:56 PM

A new court filing claims that most of the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6 surveillance footage aired last week by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, which he used to downplay the seriousness of the attack, was aired without the approval of the U.S. Capitol Police -- despite Carlson's claims to the contrary.

Capitol Police general counsel Thomas DiBiase said in a sworn affidavit filed in D.C. federal court Friday that despite DiBiase's requests to a senior Republican staffer that he review every clip from the USCP's internal system that would be made public, he was shown and approved "only one clip" that Carlson ultimately aired on his show last Monday and Tuesday.

"Since that clip was substantially similar to a clip used in [former President Donald Trump's second] Impeachment Trial and was publicly available, I approved the use of the clip," DiBiase said. "The other approximately 40 clips, which were not from the Sensitive List [of cameras deemed the most sensitive], were never shown to me nor anyone else from the Capitol Police."

The statement from DiBiase directly contradicts a statement Carlson made on his show that his team had coordinated with Capitol Police on what was appropriate to air.

"Before airing any of this video, we checked first with the Capitol Police," Carlson said last Monday. "We are happy to say the reservations were minor and for the most part they were reasonable."

But sources told ABC News that just hours before Carlson went on the air, Capitol Police were informed that they would not have an opportunity to review the footage beforehand as they had expected they would be able to do.

DiBiase said that he emphasized the USCP's desire to review every clip during numerous conversations with the staff director for the Committee on House Administration, which controls congressional operations and security.

Rioters at the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.
John Minchillo/AP, FILE

A spokesperson for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who gave Carlson exclusive access to the nearly 42,000 hours of previously unreleased footage, said the speaker's office had worked with the USCP to prevent the release of any sensitive footage.

"We worked with the Capitol Police ahead of time to identify any security-sensitive footage and made sure it wasn't released," the spokesperson said. "In subsequent conversations, the USCP General Counsel confirmed that the department concluded there are no security concerns with what was released."

According to the affidavit, the handover of video to Carlson's team was a departure from the processes followed by the now-disbanded House select committee that investigated the Jan. 6 attack and the Justice Department's separate ongoing criminal probe into the riot.

"I informed the staff director that this was the same process followed by the Select Committee and the prosecutors in all of the criminal cases: that we were shown and had to approve of every clip before it was made public. This was followed in all cases by both the Select Committee and the prosecutors," DiBiase said.

McCarthy has stood by his decision to grant Carlson access to the raw security footage, telling reporters that he has no regrets about the arrangement. But he has repeatedly refused to answer questions about Carlson's comments on the show, in which he defended the protesters and said they were correct to "believe that the election they had just voted in had been unfairly conducted."

Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger said in an internal memo to U.S. Capitol Police last Tuesday that the commentary on Carlson's show was "filled with offensive and misleading conclusions about the January 6 attack."

Five people died during or after the attack, including four protesters and one police officer, and approximately 140 officers suffered injuries, according to the Department of Justice.

DiBiase's affidavit was filed in court in the case of William Pope, a Kansas man charged for his participation in the Jan. 6 attack, who has accused prosecutors of violating his rights by not allowing him to access footage relevant to his defense. Prosecutors have disputed his claims.

McCarthy said last week that the Jan. 6 committee never asked Capitol Police about the footage before airing it during their public hearings. But as ABC News has previously reported, according to sources, Capitol Police did have the opportunity to review clips before the committee aired them publicly.

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