Inconsistencies in National Guard's response to Jan. 6 raise more questions

A new report shows the inconsistencies in the response to the Capitol insurrection by the National Guard

By Meaghan Ellis

Published December 15, 2021 4:01AM (EST)

Members of the National Guard and the Washington D.C. police keep a small group of demonstrators away from the U.S. Capitol on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. A pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol earlier, breaking windows and clashing with police officers. Trump supporters gathered in the nation's capital to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Members of the National Guard and the Washington D.C. police keep a small group of demonstrators away from the U.S. Capitol on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. A pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol earlier, breaking windows and clashing with police officers. Trump supporters gathered in the nation's capital to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

As the mob of angry Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, high-ranking officials for the U.S. Armed Forces mulled over ways to quell the chaos. But, The Bulwark's Amanda Carpenter is posing one question that no one can seem to answer:

"What actually happened amongst the Army's leadership on January 6 during the crucial three hours between when then the U.S. Capitol was breached by a pro-Trump mob and when the grounds were secured?"

It's been 11 months now and, still, no one knows.

In a new 36-page memo, Maj. Gen. William Walker, the current House Sergeant at Arms, who was serving as commanding general of the D.C. National Guard and his former Army counsel Col. Earl Matthews offered their account of what occurred during that three-hour period. The two claimed the D.C. National Guard "was prevented from quickly deploying to the Capitol and that Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy was strangely incommunicado during that time period."

However, Carpenter has highlighted the biggest problem with their claims.

"Yet Walker and Matthews say that these supposed calls from McCarthy never took place and that they never saw the plan that Army leadership supposedly produced. When the Guard finally got the go-ahead to move, they claim, it followed its own plans as it intended in the first place."

To make matters worse, their accounts have been supported other high-ranking officials including Robert Contee and Steven Sund, the police chiefs for the Metropolitan Police Department and the United States Capitol Police.

Much of their version of what transpired reportedly stems from a Department of Defense Inspector General Report released in November 2021. It also highlights a call between the four men, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Lieutenant General Walter Piatt, and Lieutenant General Charles Flynn.

Per The Bulwark the inspector general report states:

"Mr. Sund told us that during the conference call, LTG Piatt commented on the "optics of [the] National Guard standing in line with the Capitol in the background," and that he [LTG Piatt] "would rather relieve your [USCP] officers off traffic posts" so the officers could respond to the Capitol.

"The DCHSEMA Director told us that either LTG Piatt or LTG Flynn said it would not look good to have Soldiers confront "peaceful protesters." Chief Contee told us that an Army official commented on the "optics" of having "boots on the ground" at the Capitol.

"MG Walker stated that LTG Piatt and LTG Flynn said they would not advise Mr. McCarthy to send Guardsmen to the Capitol; it would not be a good optic and could incite the crowd."

However, as part of their testimony earlier this year, Flynn and Piatt deny expressing concern about optics.

The inconsistences in the claims raise even more questions about what really happened behind closed doors. To make matters worse, Trump loyalists are continuing to create challenges as the investigations continue which increases doubt about the real truth ever coming to light.


Meaghan Ellis

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1/6 Donald Trump Jan. 6 National Guard