The January 6 Documents May Soon Be Locked Up For Decades

On 6, 2021, just days before it disbanded and lost control of the millions of pages of evidence it had collected, the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection conducted only 126 of the more than 1,000 interviews it conducted. Tapes released.

The January 6 Documents May Soon Be Locked Up For Decades

If the committee runs out of time, the largest compendium of evidence about the attack could be lost – sealed away for by the National Archives, or withheld from the public so that the ongoing Justice Department investigation into the attack Don't be harmed, experts warn.

“The absence of these is a serious concern” to ensure accountability and guarantee the historical record is as accurate as possible, said Ryan Goodman, a New York University law professor and co-founder of the national security law and policy website Just. security.

Committee spokespeople did not respond to multiple questions about what information the committee would be able to make public before it closes on Tuesday. After the committee is dissolved, its records will be handed over to a yet-to-be-determined successor committee, then to the House Clerk, and finally to the National Archives, where they are expected to be shielded from public view for at least 30 years.

Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) promised to make public the declassified material compiled by the panel at the committee's last hearing on December 19. But at the rate at which the information has been released, experts fear the committee will not honor that vow.

“I hope they will make as public as is humanly possible,” said Daniel Weiner, director of the Brennan Center's Elections and Government Program.

The investigation has been conducted largely in private, so the full scope of what the committee has collected is still unclear, but the available evidence points to the 18-month probe being one of the largest and most complex ever completed by Congress. Huh.

Committee staff spoke to more than 1,000 people as part of the investigation. The committee's final report cited approximately 180 transcribed interviews or statements.

As of Thursday morning, the committee had released 126 transcripts from statements or interviews in just one week, many not included in the final report.

The pace of document release “seems more to be the result of administrative problems and management problems rather than a deliberate choice,” Goodman said. “In the race to get their work done to the end … it seems as if they are running out of time.”

None of the underlying information or evidence collected by the committee has been made public.

The final report's 4,285 citations, including 967 references to “documents on file with the Select Committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol,” give a glimpse of the panel's evidence — such as White House internal The National Archives, obtained by email, notes on more than 100 informal witness interviews, and handwritten notes from high-ranking Justice Department officials.

There are also quotes from text messages given by former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows before he stopped cooperating with the committee; internal Secret Service and Department of Defense communications; text messages and emails handed over by witnesses; and video footage of key players obtained from the documentary crew.

Goodman fears the committee won't release those records at all.

“It's almost disappeared from the conversation that these other underlying documents are there. The bright, shiny thing is the transcripts, which are super important — and probably the most important — but the other underlying documents are very important,” he said.

Government watchdog groups and other organizations have already pulled information from the committee into online repositories, but they can only keep what the committee releases.

Suzanne Grooms, a former Democratic investigator for the House Oversight and Reform Committee who worked on both impeachments of former President Trump, said committee staffers were working to obtain as much information as possible, and that Republicans More releases were expected before the U.S. took control. House on Tuesday.

“There is probably a set of documents that they would issue if they had the capability and were able to get it done,” she said.

Staffers may be scrambling to organize files, determine where to move information and what to release to the public, and weigh whether to approve correction requests submitted by federal agencies. a time consuming process.

“They are right up against the edge of their end. They will be facing a real challenge,” Grooms said. “I think they will go to the bitter end.”

Over the next few days the records not made public may be taken apart and released in pieces by the as-yet-unknown successor committee, or in the case of official committee records, sent to the National Archives.

Once the committee's records end up in the National Archives, it will be extremely difficult for the public to view them. Domestic rules protect records given to the National Archives from public view for at least 30 years, while sensitive information is kept on hold for 50 years.

Transparency advocates will then have two options: wait, or persuade a future Congress to revisit the issue.

Congress retains ownership of records that enter the National Archives, so lawmakers may one day decide to withhold any stored information and release it to the public.

[Disclaimer: This story was automatically generated by a computer program and was not created or edited by Journalpur Staff. Publisher:]

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