The thousands of hours of Jan. 6 footage the government wants to keep private

Fenced-in Capitol building.
Fenced-in Capitol building. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Capitol surveillance cameras captured more than 14,000 hours of footage between noon and 8 p.m. on Jan. 6, but the U.S. Capitol Police, as well as federal prosecutors, are "strictly" controlling who can see the footage and how much is shared with the public, Buzzfeed News reports.

The surveillance videos would provide a "full accounting of the movements of key players," including lawmakers and officers, as well as rioters — which is exactly why "Capitol security officials don't want them out there," Buzzfeed purports. Notably, officials had limited access to surveillance footage before Jan. 6, as well.

Jan. 6 prosecutors have previously argued that in sharing footage, the government would be revealing to an angry mob the capabilities of a Capitol surveillance camera, "including its position and whether it pans, tilts, or zooms." But if any cases go to trial, "the public interest in seeing evidence the government presents to a jury will be even stronger," contends Buzzfeed. The surveillance camera records have proven themselves a "wellspring of evidence" for FBI agents and prosecutors.

Meanwhile, lawyers for a media coalition, including Buzzfeed News, are requesting access to videos "on a rolling basis" if and when said footage is used in court. Chuck Tobin, one of the coalition's lead attorneys, said the Capitol's layout was no secret and that revealing surveillance cameras' positioning or capabilities is a moot point, since planned Capitol security upgrades will make such equipment "obsolete or soon to be."

Considering the video evidence that was already public, "there's nothing left to protect in terms of vantage points," said Tobin. Read more at Buzzfeed News.

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