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Sedition Hunters Will Study New Jan. 6 Video, More Arrests Possible

In a surprise announcement, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) said his party will make more footage of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol invaasion available to the public via a page on the website of the House Administration Committee's oversight subcommittee, USA Today reports. Johnson said the release will “provide millions of Americans, criminal defendants, public interest organizations, and the media an ability to see for themselves what happened that day.” The footage, which will be posted in waves over several months, will not include about 5% of the video, which will not be released because it "may involve sensitive security information related to the building architecture," Johnson said. The videos that have been released since Friday have already led to Jan. 6 conspiracy theories resurfacing online, with some experts confident that the full release will help convince the public of the seriousness of what happened. Michael Edison-Hayden, an expert on far-right extremism and author of an coming book on white nationalism, is worried the new footage will be spun by conservative politicians to strengthen the popular narrative that Jan. 6 has been overblown by the media.

Whatever the impact of the newly released footage, one group welcomes the chance to pore over thousands of new hours of video: The sedition hunters. Dozens of amateur sleuths used publicly available footage and photos from Jan. 6 to identify more than 100 people whose photos appeared on an FBI “Wanted” list but who had never been publicly named, or charged, for their actions at the insurrection. Several sedition hunters said they were cautiously positive about the release of the new footage, calling it a game-changer that they hope will fill in gaps in their knowledge. Some amateur sleuths use facial recognition software to initially identify suspects, who they then identify and track throughout the riot. Throughout the process, rioters are assigned hashtags to identify them to researchers. The process involves collecting and organizing footage and photographs from thousands of social media accounts that captured the riot. News footage from the day is also archived and searched through, as is video footage that has gradually been released in the course of the more than 1,000 prosecutions that have come out of the insurrection.


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