January 6 committee warns White House it can’t ensure identity of anonymous witnesses will remain protected
The House January 6 committee has warned President Joe Biden’s White House that it cannot ensure that the identity of personnel who cooperated with its probe on the condition of anonymity will remain protected once the panel dissolves on Tuesday.
The select committee had agreed it “would do its utmost to protect the identity” of certain personnel if the White House allowed them to sit for an interview.
But now the panel acknowledges it “cannot ensure enforcement of the commitment to maintain the confidentiality of the identity of the witnesses” because it will no longer exercise control over interview transcripts after it is dissolved, according to a December 30 letter.
“Pursuant to long-standing House rules, the official records of the Committee will be archived and pass into the control of the National Archives,” the committee wrote to Richard Sauber, special counsel for Biden, noting the panel shares “concern for the safety, security, and reputations of our witnesses.”
The committee has already begun to transmit materials to the National Archives and Records Administration, while releasing dozens of interview transcripts publicly. In some cases, the panel has redacted the names of witnesses in transcripts made available for public review.
With Republicans taking control of the House this week, they’re preparing to direct the committee’s evidence to another House committee under GOP control. Under House rules proposed for the next Congress, both the select committee and the Archives would be directed to provide material from the select committee to the House Administration Committee by January 17.
The select committee said Monday it has already provided materials to the Administration Committee, but it’s unclear if that included redactions.
At the same time, the panel said in its letter to the White House it is providing materials for review and “instructions for proper handling by the Archives.”
“During your review, we recommend that (redacted) provide for the official file that will reside with the Archives any necessary written guidance regarding the need for limitations on release or other sensitivities,” the letter states. “Our expectation is that the transcripts with such instructions will become part of the historical record of our investigation maintained by the National Archives.”