The commander of the Washington D.C. National Guard said that the Department of Defense restricted his authority in a way that made it significantly harder for him to respond to the January 6th riots at the United States Capitol building.
The Washington Post reports that Maj. Gen. William J. Walker says that the Pentagon forced him to seek a higher level sign-off before sending in troops to break up the pro-Trump riots that left five people dead.
"All military commanders normally have immediate response authority to protect property, life, and in my case, federal functions — federal property and life," Walker tells the Post. "But in this instance I did not have that authority."
Former Army secretary Ryan McCarthy tells the Post that new restrictions were put in place after the DoD received criticism for using heavy handed tactics to control Black Lives Matter protests, including flying helicopters low over demonstrators.
"After June, the authorities were pulled back up to the secretary of defense's office," McCarthy told the paper. "Any time we would employ troops and guardsmen in the city, you had to go through a rigorous process. As you recall, there were events in the summer that got a lot of attention, and that was part of this."