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In breakthrough, Congress obtains footage of undercover cops conducting surveillance on Jan. 6

Footage captures DC officers talking Antifa, exhorting rioters to run into Capitol and may provide roadmap to future security reforms to avoid "blue-on-blue tragedy."

Published: November 21, 2023 11:11pm

Updated: November 22, 2023 5:59am

Congressional investigators have obtained hours of video footage from undercover officers who were dispatched by the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department to the U.S. Capitol to conduct electronic surveillance during the Jan. 6 riot, a critical new piece of evidence that could help lawmakers fashion long-delayed security reforms.

The footage reviewed by Just the News ranges from the mundane -- such as chronicling moments when Capitol Police officers are impacted by tear gas fired into the crowd – to more provocative scenes that appear to show plainclothes MPD officers exhorting rioters to climb scaffolding near the Capitol or talking about being undercover with liberal fascist protesters in a crowd.

“Well, we go undercover as Antifa in the crowd,” one officer that congressional investigators believe is a member of the MPD electronic surveillance unit is captured on video saying.

That officer made the comment as he was helping uniformed Capitol Police officers get some water after inhaling tear gas, the footage shows.

Just the News obtained footage from official sources and confirmed it has not been altered. The footage showed the officer in plainclothes with a grey jacket. Spotted in the video and  identifying him as a police officer is a badge hanging around his neck.

The footage obtained by Just the News is embedded in the player above. It was turned over recently to investigators for the House Administration Oversight Subcommittee who are investigating the official police response on Jan. 6. A snippet of the video began appearing on social media a few weeks ago. Just the News obtained the complete footage and verified its authenticity.

Traditional body-worn cameras and portable surveillance cameras carried by uniformed and undercover officers alike have both provided footage that Congressional investigators are using to evaluate the police response to Jan. 6. A third type of footage, closed circuit camera videos are being made publicly available by newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson, with the first batch released just last week.

Congressional investigators are uncertain whether the officer in the newly surfaced video was referring to being undercover in the Jan. 6 crowd as Antifa or referring to the earlier summer 2020 George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests that often included Antifa activists.

But they have assembled concrete evidence that Washington D.C. police deployed a massive presence to the Jan. 6 scene, including officers in plainclothes who were part of “electronic surveillance teams.”

Before he left for a job inside the FBI, former DC Police Chief Robert J. Contee Jr. told the House Administration Subcommittee on Oversight and its chairman Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., in a May 2023 letter reviewed by Just the News that his department deployed nearly 1,500 officers and personnel from more than a dozen components to the Jan. 6 scene. Contee provided a list of every officer who responded, their rank and their normal assignment.

Contee explained in the letter that the undercover surveillance team units “responded to the Capitol on January 6, 2021, to film ongoing criminal activity.” Former Capitol Police Chief Steve Sund told Just the News on Tuesday he was unaware that MPD had deployed undercover surveillance officers.

Loudermilk told Just the News his subcommittee is prepared, if necessary, to summon officers from the surveillance units to get answers to critical questions.

“During the course of our investigation into the security failures at the Capitol on Jan 6, 2021, we saw many accounts of U.S. Capitol Police officers going beyond the call of duty. I’m grateful to all law enforcement officers who answered Chief Sund’s call to assist in protecting the Capitol on January 6,” Loudermilk told Just the News on Tuesday. “However, we have also uncovered videos, such as this one recorded by plainclothes police officers embedded in the crowds that day, which we have verified as Metro Police.

“This is further evidence that there are important questions about who was in the crowd and why they were there without the knowledge of USCP. Not only do the American people deserve transparency and accountability, but law enforcement that acted inappropriately should be held accountable,” Loudermilk added. “That is why we must continue to aggressively investigate and continue to follow the evidence where it leads.”

Sund said that while he appreciated the local police response on Jan. 6, he was unaware that MPD had plainclothes surveillance officers on scene. He warned the lack of coordination and communication in a crisis like Jan. 6 could lead to a "blue on blue tragedy."

"It is critical that we know there are plainclothes out there, who they are with and how we can identify them," Sund said, citing cases going back decades where uniform and undercover officers got it to unwitting confrontations with tragic consequences.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department did not return call seeking comment on Tuesday.

Sund also confirmed in an interview posted to X former Fox News host Tucker Carlson that he was not notified to the presence of federal agents in the crowd that day either. 

“You would absolutely want to know the difference in, you know, deconfliction. You want to have things like that,” Sund told Carlson. “A lot of the folks will already know there’s a lot of standard procedures for ways you deconflict so you don’t have blue on blue type of situations.”

In September, Sund appeared before the Committee on House Administration Subcommittee on Oversight to testify on Jan. 6.

“Thinking back, do you know if there were any federal officers authorized by the Capitol Police to be operating on the Capitol grounds?” Rep. Greg Murphy, R-N.C., asked Sund during his testimony.

“Other than the Capitol Police, none that I’m aware of,” Sund answered.

Just the News continues to review the footage from the surveillance unit cameras. In addition to the discussion about Antifa, the footage clearly show MDP officers exhorting some of the rioters to climb scaffolding near the Capitol.

This summer Just the News reported on a video circulating the online platform Rumble that seemed to show a group of plainclothes MPD officers exhorting the crowd gathered in front of the Capitol to climb scaffolding. The MPD officers are seen gathering just outside of the crowd and then infiltrating the protest.

As the officers approached the Capitol steps, one MPD officer can be heard shouting “Go! Go! Go!” and “Help him up!” encouraging those around him to climb the scaffolding outside the Capitol.

Loudermilk, R-Ga., confirmed to Just the News in June that MPD told Congress that the department had plainclothes officers in the crowd that day.

“We know that it is one of their officers, and at one point he is encouraging, and it appears he's encouraging, he’s definitely helping people climb the scaffolding, and he's telling them 'go, go, go,'” Loudermilk told the Just the News, No Noise television show in June.

“Why is an officer encouraging people to climb the scaffolding and go into the Capitol? And secondly, why did the MPD Metropolitan Police support department decide to put undercover officers in the crowd? Was there intelligence that they had that was or was not passed on to the Capitol Police and what did the Capitol police do with that evidence, if they got it?” he added. 

Other surveillance video shows more lapses in security.

For instance, security footage obtained by Just the News this summer showed a door on the West side of the Capitol was left open and unguarded during key moments of the riot, allowing more than 300 people to enter the building unhindered as officers fought to hold back the crowds outside the building.

Last week, Just the News also reported on security footage that shows a group of unidentified individuals delivering and hauling in materials and building the infamous wooden gallows on the National Mall. No MPD or Capitol Police interfered or questioned the individuals during construction of the gallows which remained standing throughout the protests that day.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., pressed along with Loudermilk for months for Congress to release all Capitol Police security footage from Jan. 6, a request that new House Speaker Mike Johnson finally approved this month. Greene said Tuesday she believes the MPD bodycam footage should also be released in its entirety to the public, saying it raises important questions for lawmakers still to resolve.

"We all know that undercover police have an important job, and an important role in investigations," she told the Just the News, No Noise television show Tuesday night. "But my question is if the DC police and other law enforcement had been going undercover into Antifa, why haven't they stopped Antifa for all these years?"

She added the footage published Tuesday by Just the News makes her only more determined to fight for a new Select Committee to be appointed by Johnson to investigate the Jan. 6 tragedy, saying a Democrat-run committee that finished its work a year ago engaged in a "coverup" when it came to probing intelligence and security failures by police agencies.

"I think we were owed answers. And I want our new speaker, Mike Johnson, to set up a new special committee to investigate the original January 6 committee. I want Nancy Pelosi subpoenaed, and I want answers from her as well as different federal federal agencies and DC police," she said. "America deserves the truth."

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