House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) stated on Tuesday that Republicans are intentionally blurring faces in security footage from inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The purpose is to safeguard participants from potential retaliation and charges by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Johnson made this disclosure during a news conference, emphasizing the party’s concern for the individuals involved in the events of that day.
The Department of Justice has had access to the video footage for an extended period, and it has played a role in around 1,200 criminal charges against those involved in the Capitol riot. During the riot, hundreds of individuals forcibly entered the Capitol, pushing past police and violently attacking Congress.
Mike Johnson’s statements express a notable level of sympathy for supporters of then-President Donald Trump. These supporters, without authorization, broke into a restricted federal building and engaged in violent actions against Congress. This occurred while Congress was in session to certify the Electoral College results before Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Even though the prosecution already has the footage, concealing faces might discourage potential tipsters from providing leads to the FBI. Online investigators have previously aided the government in identifying individuals by employing facial recognition software and social media.
A representative of Johnson stated in a subsequent statement on Tuesday that blurring faces aims to “prevent all forms of retaliation against private citizens from any non-governmental actors.”