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Former DC National Guard official accuses two generals of lying about delayed response to Capitol…

A former DC National Guard official is accusing two Army generals of lying to Congress about the military’s response to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. 

Col. Earl Matthews wrote a memo to the select subcommittee investigating the riot called Gen. Charles Flynn, who served as deputy chief of staff for operations, and Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt, director of Army staff, ‘absolute and unmitigated liars.’

Matthews at the time was serving as the top attorney to then-D.C. National Guard commander Maj. Gen. William Walker.

The memo, which defends Walker’s response, argues that the Pentagon inspector general’s November report was ‘replete with factual inaccuracies.’ That report had found that Army leaders had to tell Walker twice to deploy the troops.  

Walker, now retired from the military and serving as the House sergeant-at-arms, said that he never received a call from Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy at 4:35 p.m., as alleged in by the Defense Department’s acting inspector general, Sean O’Donnell. He said he deployed the Guard immediately upon receiving authorization at 5:08 p.m. 

Dormer DC National Guard official Col. Earl Matthews, above, is accusing two Army generals of lying to Congress about the military’s response to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Gen. Charles Flynn

Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt

Col. Earl Matthews wrote a memo to the select subcommittee investigating the riot Gen. Charles Flynn, who served as deputy chief of staff for operations, and Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt, director of Army staff, ‘absolute and unmitigated liars’

The first National Guard members arrived on the scene around 5:40 p.m., after most of the violence had subsided.  

In the memo obtained by Politico, Matthews alleges that Flynn and Piatt lied to Congress about their response to pleas to deploy the DC Guard quickly.

Matthews, who held high-level National Security Council and Pentagon roles during the Trump administration, alleges that at 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 6 on a conference call with senior military and law enforcement officials, then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund ‘pleaded’ for the immediate deployment of the Guard to the Capitol. 

According to Matthews, both Piatt and Flynn, the highest-ranking Army officers on the call, opposed the move. 

‘LTG Piatt stated that it would not be his best military advice to recommend to the Secretary of the Army that the D.C. National Guard be allowed to deploy to the Capitol at that time,’ Matthews wrote, adding: ‘LTGs Piatt and Flynn stated that the optics of having uniformed military personnel deployed to the U.S. Capitol would not be good.’

Matthews claimed that instead Piatt and Flynn suggested Guardsmen take over traffic duties for Capitol police so they could better respond to the insurrection. 

Flynn then advised the Guard to stand by until it had the approval of Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and then-acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller. 

Both men have denied to Congress that they said the Guard should not deploy to the Capitol. 

‘At no point on January 6 did I tell anyone that the D.C. National Guard should not deploy directly to the Capitol,’ Piatt wrote in response to questioning from House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., in June.  

The first National Guard members arrived on the scene around 5:40 p.m., after most of the violence had subsided

The first National Guard members arrived on the scene around 5:40 p.m., after most of the violence had subsided

Five died in the chaos of that day

Five died in the chaos of that day 

Walker testified to Congress in March that Flynn and Piatt were concerned about ‘optics.’ 

Flynn denied ever expressing concern about optics, which Matthews in the memo says is ‘outright perjury.’ Matthews said that both he and Walker ‘heard Flynn identify himself and unmistakably heard him say that optics of a National Guard presence on Capitol Hill was an issue for him. That it would not look good. Either Piatt or Flynn mentioned ‘peaceful protestors.’ 

Flynn is the brother of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, President Trump’s one-time national security advisor, who has been subpoenaed by the committee. 

Flynn and Piatt instead claimed  that the Guard was not in place to deploy immediately, with Flynn testifying to the House Oversight Committee in June that a ‘team of over 40 officers and non-commissioned officers immediately worked to recall the 154 D.C. National Guard personnel from their current missions, reorganize them, re-equip them, and begin to redeploy them to the Capitol.’ 

‘If it does not constitute the willful and deliberate misleading of Congress, then nothing does,’ Matthews wrote of Flynn’s statement. ‘Flynn was referring to 154 D.C. Guardsmen who were already on duty, were trained in civil disturbance response, already had area familiarization with Washington, DC, were properly kitted and were delayed only because of inaction and inertia at the Pentagon.’ 

Matthews said that all Guard members were anxious to deploy, and the delay was a break from the norm as they had quickly deployed to protect federal buildings the summer before during protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death.  

Matthews also refers to a document circulated among Army officials, the ‘Report of the Army’s Operations on January 6 2021,’ which he says is ‘worthy of the best Stalinist or North Korea propagandist.’

Matthews also suggests that the Army secretary McCarthy was missing for much of the afternoon and at times D.C. National Guard leaders had trouble tracking him. 

The Pentagon inspector general report had found that McCarthy had to call Walker twice to order him to deploy the Guard. Matthews said that is ‘an outrageous assertion … as insulting as it is false,’ and says McCarthy himself was ‘incommunicado or unreachable for most of the afternoon.’ 

Army spokesperson Mike Brady said in a statement that the service’s ‘actions on January 6th have been well-documented and reported on, and Gen. Flynn and Lt. Gen. Piatt have been open, honest and thorough in their sworn testimony with Congress and DOD investigators.’  

‘We stand by all testimony and facts provided to date, and vigorously reject any allegations to the contrary,’ he said.  


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