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How Should We React to Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy Unilaterally Gifting Tucker Carlson Access to Sensitive National Security Data?
McCarthy’s unprecedented move overrode express warnings from federal officials in both the executive and judicial branches. And it’s just the sort of government-media collusion MAGA says it opposes.
This shocking story cannot be discussed without first acknowledging the context in which it arises: (a) an ongoing federal criminal investigation into Kevin McCarthy patron Donald Trump for mishandling national security-sensitive data; (b) an ongoing federal criminal investigation into Trump for his actions on and before the January 6 insurrection; and (c) McCarthy himself being not just the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives—and therefore third in line to the presidency—but a man who was himself referred for federal criminal investigation by the House January 6 Committee that he summarily disbanded because he (i) ignored a federal subpoena to testify about January 6, and (ii) manifestly lied about both his own words and actions and those of former president Trump on that terrible day.
It is factual, not partisan, to say that McCarthy not only just orchestrated a major national security breach but did so under circumstances in which he is currently under federal investigation for aiding and abetting an insurrection through illegal conduct (not to mention conduct that violates his Oath of Office). That the national security breach McCarthy orchestrated—which will reveal sensitive security data about the U.S. Capitol to the Trumpist insurrectionists currently engaged in a plot to overthrow the democratically elected government of the United States—will result in a Putinist white supremacist (infamous far-right propagandist Tucker Carlson) gaining unfettered access to this sensitive data makes the whole scandal that much more terrifying. And that McCarthy’s collusion with private individuals in media is exactly the sort of public-private partisan cooperation Elon Musk and MAGA have for months been saying is tearing our country apart makes their implicit support for the new Speaker’s actions that much more risible and hypocricial.
And in the face of all this, reaction from major media continues to be muted.
If major media had been using the same frame that Proof and certain other media outlets have been using since January 6, 2021—that we’re in the midst of an ongoing insurrection that has accomplices in both government and far-right propaganda ops, it’d be easier to see what just happened here and call it by its rightful name(s). There is, instead, a sense that journalists are merely shaking their fists weakly at what Mr. McCarthy has done, as though what he has done is something less egregious than knowingly and unilaterally aiding and abetting future Trumpist violence against our democratically elected government.
To be very clear, McCarthy had been told by the FBI, DOJ, and the federal judiciary that the data he was gifting a white supremacist militant—while Carlson sometimes cosplays as a far-right propagandist or even merely a far-right “commentator,” his recent statements about America have been extremist to the point of dangerous militancy—would permanently endanger the Capitol from Trumpist insurrectionists.
He nevertheless chose to act unilaterally, without any advance warning to anyone else in the federal government and without instituting any prior checks on what information about the security arrangement at the Capitol would or would not be made available to a man (Carlson) who increasingly hints, as do certain members of McCarthy’s House GOP Conference, that a Second U.S. Civil War might be coming—and justified.
There is a version of this country in which we have enough of an instinct for our own self-preservation that impeachment proceedings get launched against McCarthy right now—not to mention (another) federal criminal investigation of him—given that this is not even the first or second time he has publicly taken actions to aid and abet what we know is an ongoing seditious conspiracy among enemies of American democracy.
In factual terms, McCarthy is an insurrectionist. While he may not be a true believer—he may only be aiding and abetting Trump’s insurrection in order to further his own career—but federal criminal statutes don’t make special allowances for people who seek to overthrow our government for purely selfish rather than (as it were) eldritch, self-declared “principled” reasons.
Every result that flows from what McCarthy has done in colluding with private media—again, exactly the sort of collusion leading far-right figures like Elon Musk (not to mention journalists-turned-propagandists like Matt Taibbi and Glenn Greenwald) have been decrying via #TheTwitterFiles for months now—makes America less safe.
But America is so broken right now that nothing will be done about it—and in fact maybe nothing can be.
To be clear, no one is saying—not here at Proof or anywhere else—that none of the thousands and thousands of hours of January 6 CCTV footage from inside the U.S. Capitol should be seen. Indeed, the House January 6 Committee already showed some of it. But all branches of the federal government have been in agreement, up until now, that any future releases of such material either in court or to American media would have to go through an extremely careful, exhaustive, national security-sensitive vetting process.
We needn’t doubt why McCarthy has unilaterally chosen to do an end-around on that process. His reasons are the same as ever: (a) his own personal advancement in D.C. and (b) an ongoing, Oath-violative willingness to aid and abet a violent insurrection that continues to be overseen by his political patron.
What remains unclear is what the consequences for America will be when Carlson broadcasts (and then almost assuredly leaks) national security-sensitive data to the enemies of America—both domestic and, possibly, even foreign. The answer to this open question is one that Americans may not have for some time yet. But when we do, it will no doubt come under some of the most unpleasant circumstances imaginable.