It took approximately three hours between when the U.S. Capitol was breached by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, 2020 and when the grounds were secured. In a new 36-page explosive new memo, former DC National Guard Col. Earl Matthews uncovered a trove of questions rather than answers regarding the timeline of events leading up to and during the insurrection. Why did it take three hours to secure the U.S. Capitol? And who is really lying here?
Former Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller claimed he gave Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy full discretion to employ the D.C. National Guard (DCNG) in force to the Capitol at 3:04 p.m. But McCarthy felt the need to go back to Miller to report a plan of deployment, explained columnist Amanda Carpenter in The Bulwark.
In the memo, Matthews disagreed with Army leadership about their claims that they utilized the three hours to facilitate a plan for Guard mobilization and that McCarthy had to twice call upon Walker to implement and that "Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy was strangely incommunicado during that time period." In fact, Walker and Matthews claim these calls from McCarthy never took place.
Robert Contee and Steven Sund served, respectively, as Metropolitan Police Department Chief and the United States Capitol Police Chief on January 6. The November 2021 Department of Defense Inspector General Report (DoDIG) stated, "Mr. Sund told us that during the conference call, LTG Piatt [Lieutenant General Walter Piatt, director of the Army Staff] 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."
Lieutenant General Charles Flynn [the Army’s deputy chief of staff for Operations] and Piatt testified to Congress earlier this year denying the "optics" conversation ever happened.
“It has been stated that I used the term 'optics' in regard to having Soldiers respond to breach of the Capitol; I do not recall using this term on the 2:32 phone call on January 6,” Piatt said. “I respect and understand that others may recall things differently, but ultimately, on that day, my chief concern was ensuring the Army was able to effectively assist D.C. and federal authorities in regaining control of the U.S. Capitol.”
“I did not use the word 'optics,' nor did I hear the word used during the call on Jan. 6, 2021, in response to any requests for support or during the planning and execution of that support,” said Flynn, who now serves as the commander of the U.S. Army Pacific. “I also never heard LTG Piatt or any other Army senior leader use that word that day. My duty that day was to facilitate the planning and execution of [Army] Secretary [Ryan] McCarthy’s decisions and guidance."
Piatt said that Miller didn’t approve the activation of the National Guard until just after 3 p.m. ET, a decision that didn’t get relayed to Walker until just after 5 p.m. ET. McCarthy claimed that there was “tremendous confusion” during this timeframe and that Miller told him to “get a plan. Put it all together, and then go.”
The DoDIG report stated that McCarthy presented his plan to have the Guard "meet and follow MPD to conduct perimeter security and clearance operations” to acting SecDef Miller at 4:30 p.m. Five minutes later, the DoDIG report claimed McCarthy called Walker again, this time to direct him to immediately move all available National Guard personnel from the Armory.
Matthews said the call never took place and that there was a glaring omission from the DoDIG report.
"Between 4:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., before DCNG personnel had deployed to the Capitol, McCarthy spent nearly 20 minutes in a live nationally televised press conference with Mayor Bowser and Chief Contee.”
“As he stated in sworn testimony, MG Walker became aware of the approval to deploy DCNG personnel during a video teleconference with senior Army officials at 5:08 p.m. The decision of civilian leadership was conveyed by the CSA, General James McConville,” Matthews wrote in the memo. “The notion that MG Walker had to be told twice to deploy forces to the Capitol is as insulting as it is false.”
Matthews issued a dire warning in the memo.
"The DoDIG report is replete with factual inaccuracies, discrepancies and faulty analysis. It relies on demonstrably false testimony or statements. The focus of this memorandum is on the discrepancies and falsehoods that DoDIG relied on to produce its report. The danger is that if this report, with its glaring errors and wholesale adoption of the Army company line, is accorded the deference typically afforded inspector general investigations, the report will become part of the historical record and a false narrative will have been as adopted fact. Discerning what happened on 6 January is too important to get wrong. If we do not fully comprehend and analyze what occurred on 6 January, the danger is that history will repeat itself. Our collective goal as a government and an American people should be to ensure that what occurred on 6 January does not happen again."