Doctored evidence? Democrat-led J6 panel added audio to silent security video for primetime hearings

J6 Unmasked: Silent Capitol Police security footage altered by adding audio from another source during a montage that aired at the select committee's first primetime hearing last June.

Published: June 2, 2023 11:18pm

Updated: June 3, 2023 11:22am

The Democrat-led House Select Committee to Investigate Jan. 6 doctored a key piece of its evidence, adding audio to silent U.S. Capitol Police security footage used to create a dramatic video montage for the opening of its primetime hearings last summer, according to a Just the News review of the original raw footage and interviews.

In at least two instances identified by Just the News, the panel's sizzle reel that aired live and on C-SPAN last June failed to identify that it had overdubbed audio from another, unidentified source onto the silent footage. Multiple current and former Capitol Police officials as well as key lawmakers and congressional aides confirmed that the closed-circuit cameras that captured the video do not record sound and that it was added afterwards.

A former spokesman for the Jan. 6 committee told Just the News that the panel was supposed to clearly mark any video that was dubbed with another audio source, and it did so on some occasions in the sizzle reel. 

But Just the News identified two key pieces of Capitol Police closed circuit television (“CCTV”) footage -- one from an inside angle showing the dramatic breach of a key entrance to the Capitol by rioters and the other an aerial view of the agitated crowd outside – from a camera system that Capitol Police officials confirmed did not have sound recording capabilities. Yet, the footage shown by the committee inexplicably included sound on the video montage they produced. That video is without any disclaimer showing the audio had been dubbed.

You can see those videos in the player above.

Spokesmen and other aides for the Jan. 6 committee and its former chairman, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., did not return repeated requests for comment on why the two key scenes were dubbed without the public being told.

The chairman of the current GOP-led House Administration subcommittee that continues to investigate the security failures of the Jan. 6 tragedy blasted the decision to dub audio without informing the public, saying it was further proof Democrats wanted to sway opinion rather than gather facts.

"What the American people want to know is the truth, and this was nothing but a Hollywood production," Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., told the Just the News, No Noise television show Friday night. "The committee spent $18.5 million, at least that's what we know of, to write a dossier against Donald Trump and to create this Hollywood production. And when I looked at the videos, it's clear, it's apparent to me that it is a Capitol police security video film, and there is no audio whatsoever.”

"And so yes, it was dubbed on there for dramatic effect” Loudermilk continued, “And that shows that what they were trying to do is sway public opinion, not just get the truth out." 

The full and unadulterated CCTV security footage of the Jan. 6 riots is in the possession of the House Administration Committee. Just the News was authorized by Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the committee to review the footage and make copies of any newsworthy moments. On Thursday, Just the News released footage of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi's evacuation from the Capitol during the riot that showed she let her daughter film the exit Hollywood style, an act the former police chief said was a "distraction" for her security detail.

Loudermilk has had his own battles with the Jan. 6 committee, which falsely accused him of leading a reconnaissance operation inside the Capitol for rioters the day before the attack. Capitol Police concluded the committee's allegation was false and all the congressman had done was give a tour to constituents in nearby congressional office buildings.

As part of its review, Just the News compared original raw footage from the security cameras to the same footage aired during the Jan. 6 committee's sizzle reel.

One video clip from the genuine security footage shows an aerial view of the U.S. Capitol Building without sound as the riot unfolded on Jan. 6. Yet during the hearing the same clip aired with audio of crowd noises.

Another clip shows rioters entering the building through the Senate wing door. Viewers can hear glass breaking and a lot of shouting as the clip played during the hearing, but the Capitol Police and others have confirmed that the genuine and original version of this security footage had no audio. 

Just the News contacted Thompson’s office and asked why it showed silent Capitol security footage with added audio. A spokesperson for Thompson responded with a statement from a staffer who works on the committee who said graphics on the clips indicated the audio sources that were used. However, the clips in question do not show an audio source.

"The police video, both in terms of surveillance video and body-cam video, was synced with the D.C. Metropolitan Police and US Capitol Police radio transmissions going on at the same time," the spokesperson said, replaying the response from the select committee staffer. "And the source of the audio was clearly identified in the video clips shown during the hearings and in the transcripts of the proceedings, where the audio is clearly marked as 'Police Radio Transmission' or 'USCP Radio Transmission or 'MPD Radio Transmission'." At press time, Just The News has been unable to determine whether the overdubbed police transmissions contained the crowd noises in the background audio.

Just the News followed up and asked for the audio source of the two clips but did not receive a response.

A former spokesperson for the committee also told Just the News that audio sources appeared as graphics on each video clip that aired during the public hearings. When presented with two examples of silent security footage where audio had been overdubbed without indication that the video had been doctored or the source of the soundtrack, the former spokesperson did not respond.

Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said if the video evidence was altered and the public wasn't told, it warranted an investigation and forensic exam by Congress and would likely have resulted in serious repercussions had it occurred in a court of law.

"Well, if this is true, if they really did dub the tapes without telling the public, if a lawyer did that, that lawyer would be disbarred," Dershowitz said. "It would be fraud if a person introduced that as testimony and didn't disclose that it had material added. That would be a form of perjury.

"We ought to be able to prove that forensically, without any doubt, and we ought to be able to get the evidence of who added the words, where the words came. ... We have to get all the facts. But once the facts are known if it confirms what you've said, this is a very, very serious ethical and perhaps even legal breach."

Democrats have a history of accuracy issues in their efforts to investigate Jan. 6. In the second impeachment trial of the 45th president, Democrats omitted from a video of Trump's speech that he had urged his followers to protest peacefully on Jan. 6.

During the early Jan. 6 committee investigation, lawmakers falsely accused former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik of being in Washington at a planning meeting for the protest the day before the riots. In fact, evidence uncovered by Just the News showed he was in New York caring for a sick relative. The committee apologized.

The committee also was forced to apologize when it altered a text message sent by Rep. Jim Jordan, angering Republicans. "The Select Committee is responsible for and regrets the error," it said at the time.

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