Two former top Washington DC National Guard officials have slammed the US Army’s internal report on its response to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, claiming the document creates a false narrative about what happened that day.
The 20-page report, obtained by Politico, describes multiple conversations between Army officials and then-DC Guard commander Maj. Gen. William Walker as part of its explanation for why the National Guard was unable to respond to the Capitol when their support was initially requested.
However, Walker — now the House of Representatives’ Sergeant at Arms — claims some of those communications never happened.
Walker and Col. Earl Matthews, then a top lawyer for the DC Guard, insist their forces were ready to be sent to the Capitol at any time, contrary to the Army’s report.
“It’s whole fiction,” Matthews told Politico.
Earlier this month, Matthews alleged two top Army generals — Gen. Charles Flynn and Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt — went a step further in their deception, claiming in a memo that both had lied to Congress about the riot response and describing the Army’s official version of that day’s events an “alternate history … worthy of the best Stalinist or North Korea propagandist.”
The Army’s report was finished on March 18, however it had not been made public until very recently. Matthews and Walker reportedly had not read the report until Politico shared it with them.
Matthews and Walker claimed that DC Guard members were unable to see the report and could not contribute to its drafting. Walker reportedly requested a copy of the report from an Army three-star general but was denied.
In the report, the Army details a conference call that took place on the afternoon of the riot, when then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund requested immediate assistance of the DC Guard.
According to Sund’s written testimony, Piatt said he didn’t “like the visual of the National Guard standing a line with the Capitol in the background.”
Piatt also — according to Matthews — said sending the Guard would “not be his military advice.”
The Army report claims Capitol Police did not “clarify” the specific requests they needed from the Guard, slowing the response, even as Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department made repeated requests for immediate assistance.
“The inability of law enforcement officials to clearly communicate the task for the [Guard’s Quick Response Force] further delayed planning and executing a faster response from the DCNG [DC National Guard],” the March report read.
However, Sund’s testimony and Matthews’ memo allege that Capitol Police did express why they needed the National Guard’s assistance.
In their report, the Army also claimed the DC Guard was unable to provide assistance other than acting as backup for other police officers that needed to be relieved to strengthen numbers at the Capitol.
“The [DC National Guard] was prepared to provide the limited support requested by [the DC mayor’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency] and nothing more,” the report read.
Despite the claim, multiple Guard officials have reportedly said the Guardsmen were ready with riot gear and fully trained ahead of Jan. 6. In his memo, Matthews claimed the Guardsmen were only delayed due to “inaction and inertia at the Pentagon” not lack of readiness.
Walker has also alleged that three conversations with then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy described in the Army report did not take place. In one of them, which took place at 3 pm. on Jan. 6, the Army states that McCarthy told Walker to “begin to prepare to move all available Guardsmen” to support US Capitol Police.
“That call didn’t happen,” Walker told Politico. “I would never have to prepare [Guardsmen] to move. I would just order them to move. And they already had the equipment.”
During a 4:35 p.m. call, the report claimed, Brig. Gen. Christopher LaNeve “provided the link up location and the name of the lead law enforcement office to MG Walker.” The Army does not have the record of the name allegedly provided, according to Army spokesman Mike Brady, who told Politico the information was “relayed in real time.”
However, Walker claims the DC Guard already knew which lead law enforcement office to report to as he knew Sund personally and that they had been discussing the Guard possibility deploying on Jan. 6 before the riot occurred.
Walker has also taken issue with a supposed “plan” created by senior Army officials after they were told how bad the situation was getting.
“I didn’t need them to create a plan for me and I still haven’t seen this plan they created,” he said. “Where’s the plan?”
Brady told Politico that the plan was not memorialized in writing, as per usual Army practice, due to lack of time.
The Army has defended the report, saying it was designed for internal staff use.
“It is standard Army practice to comprehensively document significant and/or historic events and to conduct After Action Reviews,” Brady said. “The Army Report comprised a survey of existing law, authorities, and Army records of phone calls, correspondence, and the movement of its personnel.”
An unnamed DoD official revealed to the outlet that the report was shared with the DoD Inspector General and acted as the basis for Flynn and Piatt’s testimony. It was also reportedly shared with congressional committees and members who were holding hearings regarding the riot.