Major General William J. Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, confirmed many of Americans’ worst suspicions about the January 6th capitol riots in his explosive Senate testimony.
Capitol security had been deliberately weakened by civilian authorities due to purported concern about “optics,” the general stated in his testimony. Furthemore, the commanding general made it clear that such concerns were “unusual” and had not been raised during similar civil disturbances in Washington D.C. in the past.
The National Guard general’s testimony should be watched and read in full to get a deep understanding of how it completely exposes many of the misleading narratives about the Capitol attack.
The testimony contains many key insights, along with the testimony of now-resigned Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, that simply do no comport with the version of events provided by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and indeed, many of the Democratic Party leaders in Congress.
As an additional note, Democratic Senator Gary Peters of Michigan asked many excellent questions and raised a number of vital issues involved in getting a more authentic timeline of events leading up to and during the January 6th Capitol uprising.
Extensive remarks of General William Walker on the issue of “optics” and the delayed deployment of National Guard troops are provided below. The testimony is essential to gaining a better understanding of what went wrong on this nation-shaping day in American history, which is still being used as a pretense for a militaristic lockdown of the nation’s Capitol that is now expected to last for another two months.
“First, I think it’s critical to understand what the District of Columbia National Guard mission was on January 6th to include the civilian agency we were supporting and our request for support of other civilian authorities were handled,” General Walker said. “On December 31st, 2020, the District of Columbia National Guard received written requests from the District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and her Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Dr. Christopher Rodriguez. The requests sought National Guard support for traffic control and crowd management for planned demonstrations in the district from January 5th through January 6th, 2021.”
“After conducting mission analysis to support the district’s request I sent a letter to the Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy on January 1st requesting his approval. I received that approval in a letter dated January 5th granting support to the Metropolitan Police Department with a 320 guardsmen personnel to include a 40 personnel quick reaction force.”
“The District of Columbia National Guard provide support to the metropolitan police department and the United States Park Police and United States Secret Service and other federal and district law enforcement agencies in response to planned rallies, marches, protests and other large-scale First Amendment activity on a routine basis,” he added.
“The standard component of such report is the stand up of an off-site, quick-reaction force and element of guardsmen held in reserve with civil disturbance response equipment, helmets, shields, batons, et cetera,” the general continued. “They’re postured to quickly respond to an urgent and immediate need for assistance by civil authorities. The Secretary of the Army’s January 5th letter to me withheld that authority for me to employ a quick reaction force.”
“Additionally, the Secretary of the Army’s memorandum to me required that a concept of operation be submitted to him before the employment of a quick-reaction force. I found that requirement to be unusual, as was the requirement to seek approval to move guardsmen supporting the metropolitan police department to move from one traffic control point to another.”
“At 1:30 p.m. On January 6th, we watched as the metropolitan police department began to employ officers to support the Capitol Police,” General Walker continued. “In doing so, the officers began to withdraw from the traffic control points that were jointly manned with District of Columbia Guardsmen. At 1:49 p.m. I received a frantic call from then-Chief of the United States Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, where he informed me that the security perimeter of the United States Capitol had been breached by hostile rioters. Chief Sund, his voice cracking with emotion, indicated that there was a ‘dire emergency at the Capitol‘ and he requested the immediate assistance of as many available National Guardsmen that I could muster.”
It should be noted that the Pentagon placed limits on the National Guard’s ability to mobilize and prepare for the riots, the Washington Post earlier reported. President Trump also requested that 10,000 National Guard troops be at the Capitol.
“Former President Trump told Fox News late Sunday that he expressed concern over the crowd size near the Capitol days before last month’s deadly riots and personally requested 10,000 National Guard troops be deployed in response,” Fox News reported.
The Washington Post on Tuesday, while claiming to have debunked the president’s request for more National Guard troops, actually corroborates it. The WaPo fact-checker Glenn Kessler tucks the nugget within a story headlined “Trump falsely claims he ‘requested’ 10,000 troops rejected by Pelosi.”
“[Acting Defense Secretary Christopher] Miller and other senior Pentagon officials never relayed the 10,000 figure to anyone outside the Defense Department, according to a former U.S. official who was familiar with the matter,” the WaPo report said.
“They didn’t act on it because based on discussions with federal and local law enforcement leadership, they didn’t think a force of that size would be necessary,” the former official said.
Speaker Pelosi’s role in authorizing National Guard troops has been confirmed by the testimony of the former House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving.
General William Walker’s timeline provides further disturbing insights into the events of January 6th.
“Immediately after that 1:49 call, I alerted the U.S. Army senior leadership of the request,” General Walker continued. “The approval for Chief Sund’s request would eventually come from the Acting Secretary of Defense and be relayed to me by Army senior leaders at 5:08 p.m., about three hours and 19 minutes later.”
“I had already had Guardsmen on buses ready to move to the Capitol,” he continued. “Consequently, at 5:20 p.m., the District of Columbia National Guard arrived at the Capitol and were being sworn in by the United states Capitol Police,” he continued. “We helped establish the security perimeter at the East side of the Capitol to facilitate the resumption of the Joint Session of Congress.”
Senator Gary Peters asked the general a number of questions that underscore the thrust of Walker’s testimony that the security presence at the Capitol had been weakened due to a concern about “optics.”
“General Walker, I want to start my questioning by going back in time a little bit prior to the events on January 6,” Senator Peters began. “So, my question is, in June of 2020, as violence was escalating during the summer protests, were you able to immediately receive approval from the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of Defense to deploy National Guard to assist law enforcement at that time?”
“Senator Peters, I was, yes sir,” General Walker replied. “The Secretary of the Army was with me for most of that week, he came to the armory, I was in constant communication with him when we were not together.”
“So you were immediately able to receive approval in June of 20,” Peters confirmed. “From your testimony, I want to be clear, were you able to immediately receive approval from the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of Defense to deploy the National Guard on January 6th?”
“No, sir,” General Walker answered.
“In your opening remarks you said that a January 5th memo was ‘unusual’,” Senator Peters said. “Could you explain to the committee why it was unusual? What was the impact of the memo that you received on January 5th?”
“So the memo was unusual in that– it required me to seek authorization from the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of Defense to essentially even to protect my Guardsman,” General Walker replied. “So, no civil disturbance equipment could be authorized, unless it came from the Secretary of Defense. Now, the Secretary of the Army to his credit did tell me that I could have force protection equipment with the Guardsman. So, we did have helmets, shinguards, vests, we did have that with us, but that came from the Secretary of the Army. The Secretary of Defense told me I needed his permission to escalate to have that kind of protection.”
“That kind of protection, even though you would be engaged in force protection to protect your men and women,” Peters followed up. “Before you could do that, you would have to get approval from the Secretary of Defense?”
“The memo from the Secretary of Defense made clear that I needed his permission to have… so, what it says, ‘Without my personal authorization, the District of Columbia National Guard is not authorized the following: to be issued weapons, ammunition, bayonets, batons or ballistic protection equipment such as helmets and body armor. Now, again, to be clear, the Secretary of the Army told me to go ahead and issue that equipment. So we never were going to have weapons or ammunition, and we no longer have bayonets. But we do have a ballistic protection equipment, helmets, body armor. And so I did have that with each Guardsman.”
“Thank you, general,” Peters replied. “So, but that was unusual, as you mentioned, to have that kind of request.”
This is where the testimony turned to a January 6th phone call, which included the former Chief of Capitol Police Steven Sund.
“You were on the January 6th phone call at 2:30 that we heard from our previous hearing, where the Chief of Capitol Police was making an urgent appeal for help, and we heard that the D.C. Metro Police Chief said ‘it was a tepid response‘,” Senator Peters continued. “He was shocked by it. What happened on that call? What was your recollection of the call and where the assessment of the two individuals I had mentioned was that your assessment as well?”
“Yes, sir,” General Walker continued. “So that call came in… we actually helped facilitate it, the Deputy Mayor from the District of Columbia and Dr. Rodriguez, Chief Contee, Chief Sund later joined the conversation, and we dialed in the senior leadership of the U.S. Army. And at that time, Chief Contee and Chief Sund, passionately pleaded for District of Columbia National Guard to get to the Capitol with all deliberate speed.”
“So the Army senior leaders did not think that it looked good, it would be a good optic, they further stated that it could incite the crowd,” General Walker said. “So, their best military advice would be to the Secretary of the Army, who could not get on the call, so we wanted the Secretary of the Army to join the call. But he was not available. We were told that he was with the Secretary of Defense and not available. But the army senior leadership expressed to Chief Contee and Chief Sund, Dr. Mitchell, the Deputy Mayor and others on the call, that it would not be their best military advice to have uniform Guardsmen on the Capitol.”
“So during the call, you’re saying that optics was raised on that call, specifically,” the senator continued. “So you said you were able to get immediate authorization in the summer of 2020 during those protests. Was the issue of optics ever brought up when it was deployed in the summer of 2020? Was that discussed?”
“It was never discussed,” the general replied. “The week of June, it was never discussed. July 4th, when we supported the city, it was never discussed. August 28th, when we supported the city.”
“Did you think that was unusual?” Peters asked.
“I did,” the general responded.
The next section of the testimony pertains to the woefully inadequate National Guard troops on stand by, including the quick-reaction force. It was far fewer than the 10,000 troops that President Trump had requested.
“In your opening statement you mentioned the National Guard troops that were ready to go, you had them back at the armory,” Senator Peters said. “How many folks were in the armory ready to go once the order was given and at what time were they ready to go?”
“So, I had them ready to go shortly after the phone call,” General Walker replied. “So I brought, at 15:00, I directed that the quick reaction force that was based at Andrews Air Force Base, leave the base, get to the armory at all deliberate speed. I had a police escort bring them to the armory. They returned to the armory in about twenty minutes. So, we had them sitting there waiting. And then, in anticipation of a green light, a go, we put Guardsmen on buses, we brought them inside the armory so nobody would see them putting on the equipment and getting on the buses, and then we just waited to get the approval. And that is why we were able to get to the Capitol in about 18 minutes.”
“What time were they on the buses ready to go? Do you recall?” Peters asked.
“Before 5:00, but at 5:00 I decided hey, we have to — there has got to be an approval coming so get on the buses, get the equipment on, get on the buses and just wait,” the general replied. “And then a few minutes after that, we did get the approval. I was on a secure video conference when the Army leadership conveyed to me that the Secretary of Defense had authorized the employment of the National Guard at the Capitol. So, my timeline has 17:08, 5:08 p.m., is when we wrote down that we had approval. And there was about eight people in the office with me when I got that.”
“How many guardsmen were ready? You said right, earlier in the afternoon…” Peters asked.
“About 155,” Walker replied.
“You could have sent 155 much, much earlier,” Senator Peters affirmed. “What would have been the impact of sending those 155 around that 2:00 time frame?”
“Based on my experience… I have 39 years in the National Guard, I was in the Florida Guard, Hurricane Andrew, I have been involved in civil disturbances,” General Walker said. “I believe that number could have made a difference. We could have extended the perimeter and pushed back the crowd.”
There is so much about the January 6th Capitol uprising that does not comport with Speaker Pelosi and the House Democrats’ version of events. But thanks to recent Senate testimony, we are now getting a clearer picture of what actually happened.
The testimony of General William Walker and former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund reveals that there are still men who serve the country who are not sworn to serve the Democratic Party, but the people of the United States of America.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.