During the events of Jan. 6, a side door to the Capitol was mostly unguarded and open. According to police security footage obtained by a media outlet, more than 300 people were allowed into the Congress house unimpeded, even though officers tried to keep protesters out of other areas.
I was actually filming at the Capitol Building that day and only saw peaceful protesters. I was a few hundred yards from the entrance at a retaining wall it should be noted.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., first raised concerns two years ago about an episode in a hallway in the middle of the Capitol that occurred around 2:30 pm that afternoon, right before other breaches began.
There is a sign clearly marking the fire evacuation door for an emergency exit on the non-public Upper West Terrace hallway, which Capitol Police officers usher a few protesters toward, according to the footage.
The sign declares, “Emergency exit only,” and tells evacuees to “push until alarm sounds” so that the “doors will unlock in 10 seconds.” 309 people pass through it in fewer than 20 minutes from the outside after one person leaves; the doors then seem to open from within.
According to the video examined by Just the News and made available for distribution by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the GOP-led House Administration Committee, Capitol Police officers ultimately made their way to the opened Upper West Terrace doors but did not block the doorway and more rioters went on to move into the building. The officers in the video lacked riot gear or helmets.
“Video footage of other locations of the Capitol that day show officers attempting to physically block entrances to stop rioters from coming into the building, with rioters at some times striking the officers or spraying them with pepper spray,” Just the News reported.
The Capitol Police press office did not respond to requests from Just the News seeking comment. Its official after-action report barely mentions the episode, simply noting that at 2:34 p.m. the “Upper West Terrace is breached.”
The Upper West Terrace is located between the House and Senate sides of the building and has been a major focus of many trespassing prosecutions by the U.S. Justice Department.
J6 Unmasked: Security footage confirms Senate door opened, allowing 300 to enter Capitol freely
A door on the West side of the U.S. Capitol was left open and mostly unguarded for key moments during the Jan. 6 riot, allowing more than 300 people to enter the building unimpeded… pic.twitter.com/fBR2lwLGIq
— AɯƙɯαɾԃMαɱα™® (@Aspiemama_107) June 6, 2023
Current and former Capitol Police officers as well as congressional aides briefed on security told Just the News the video footage should be used to create a powerful lesson learned since it did not involve a forced breach but rather a fateful decision to move a few intruders through the emergency doors. That decision, they said, most likely triggered the emergency fire system and unlocked the entrance, creating a new entryway for protesters and a new vulnerability for officers trying to protect the Capitol.
Johnson, who first highlighted that such footage existed back in June 2021, said its release by Just the News was important so that vulnerabilities unaddressed by the Democrat-led Jan. 6 committee could be addressed now.
Following a second viewing of the video on Monday night, Johnson stated to Just the News’s No Noise television program that “some people did enter the Capitol, not by committing acts of violence, but were literally let in.”
Former FBI agent Steven Friend, who worked on the Jan. 6 case before leaving after revealing what he said were civil liberty infringements of J6 defendants, said the footage could help some defendants in court.
“I think it’s sort of a game changer. I mean, here, they didn’t even position authority figures there who would admonish folks not to use that door,” Friend declared. “And that’s the Capitol, the people’s house. And I think there was a general sentiment among people there who even might have thought that it was more of just a regular tour of the building.”
“Some of the footage was made available by a federal court in 2021 in the case of Ethan Nordean, one of the 630-plus defendants charged with participating in the riots who prosecutors alleged was a leader in the Proud Boys extremist group, was charged with conspiring with other alleged rioters to assault the Capitol to stop Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election. Nordean’s lawyer argued the footage was evidence he was permitted to enter the building, a claim the prosecution scoffed at,” Just the News added.
The new video, according to Texas Republican Rep. Troy Nehls, a former sheriff and author of a book criticizing how the Democrats have portrayed the events of January 6, shows how much more complicated the tragic day was than what was initially depicted by leftist MSM and by the House Jan. 6 kangaroo committee.
“They picked and chose what they wanted to expose during that sham committee,” Nehls alleged. “They got people screaming, and they found the worst 10 minutes inside the Capitol. But when you truly see the video, there are hours and hours of no violence, non-violent protesters just walking around inside the Capitol, waving their flags, singing God Bless America.
“I mean, there are many, many people inside that Capitol building that day that didn’t violate any law, didn’t hurt anybody, didn’t do anything wrong,” he went on to say.