The House Oversight Committee announced Wednesday it has received hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of previously unseen footage of the secretly recorded Planned Parenthood meetings that have spurred a nationwide uproar.
Members and staff will now be able to view the footage in a closed-door screening room, Committee Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzCongress's latest hacking investigation should model its most recent Fox News Audio expands stable of podcasts by adding five new shows The myth of the conservative bestseller MORE (R-Utah) said in a statement. It will not be released to the public “out of an abundance of caution to ensure the safety and security of all individuals recorded,” he said.
Democrats now have their first chance to prove that a series of undercover videos by the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress were deceptively edited to attack Planned Parenthood.
Still, it will be a difficult task: One GOP committee aide said the file could contain thousands of hours of footage, which he said has not been fully reviewed yet.
“With nearly 800GB of data to review, it will take significant time to evaluate all of the footage,” Chaffetz said.
The Center for Medical Progress has released 10 videos, each about 10 minutes long, that have appeared to show Planned Parenthood officials negotiating the price for fetal tissue. While the group has released several hours of unedited footage online, Democrats have complained that a full copy of the video is not available.
Planned Parenthood released a statement Wednesday arguing that the committee still doesn’t have the complete record.
“In the past, David Daleiden has said that he has multiple terabytes of video footage, and today it was announced that Congress has received 800 gigabytes of data. Where’s the rest?” the group’s vice president for communication Eric Ferrero wrote in a statement.
Both parties acknowledge that the videos posted on YouTube are highly edited, though Republican say it does not change the remarks, or the tone, of the Planned Parenthood officials captured on film.
The committee has had to wait weeks for a full copy of the footage. Until this month, its contents were under a temporary restraining order after the National Abortion Federation claimed in court that its release could endanger its members who appear in the footage.
The court ultimately allowed the Center for Medical Progress to turn over the footage after Republicans on the committee filed a subpoena.
Chaffetz came under fire last week from Democratic lawmakers who accused him of hiding the footage, though it was not clear whether he had the full footage at that time.
“Those tapes are being hidden away. It appears that the Republicans don’t want the Democrats to be able to see those videos,” Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) declared from the House floor last week.
On Tuesday, Slaughter again requested that Chaffetz “stop hiding the hard drives in his possession and comply with his legal obligation to provide copies to committee Democrats,” her spokesman said.
“Chairman Chaffetz setting up a DIY movie theater in his office is not the same as complying by the terms of the subpoena, which explicitly requires that copies of the hard drives be provided to committee Democrats,” her spokesman James Owen said.
This story was updated at 4:16 p.m.