On Tuesday, the House Oversight & Reform Committee held its second hearing on the events leading up to and during the January 6th Capitol Riots. At the hearing, yet another general stepped forward to expose the House of Representatives’ role in preventing an adequate military response, despite intelligence indicating that there was a likelihood of rioting.
Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt, the director of the Army staff, testified before the House committee, as well as FBI Director Christopher Wray. Piatt’s testimony is of particular interest, because it once again illuminates how political decision-makers specifically limited the ability of the Capitol Police, the National Guard and the U.S. military to prevent the Capitol building from being overrun by protesters.
Lt. Gen. Piatt began by extending his gratitude to the “brave men and women” who defended the Capitol on January 6th. He claimed that they “without question saved many lives,” although it must be noted that not a single protester has been charged with murder.
The general explained that his role on January 6th was to provide the D.C. National Guard with the resources it needed to do their duty and accomplish their missions.
General Piatt explained that the Army initially provided “unarmed support” to the D.C. National Guard and the Capitol Police.
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“By midday, the mission had changed drastically to respond to the attack on the Capitol,” Piatt said. “That change of mission was unforeseen and we were not positioned to respond with immediate support.”
General Piatt then notes the response to the bomb threats at the RNC and DNC offices, which are incidents that the American people still don’t have answers for. There are no known, named suspects charged for those bomb threats.
The general then described an “urgent” call to provide immediate support to the Capitol security team. Lt. Gen. Piatt then relates how he was directed to have the staff “prepare a response.”
“I communicated this on the conference call,” Piatt said. “But those on the line were convinced that I was denying the request, which I did not have the authority to do. Despite clearly saying three times that we were not denying the request, we need to prepare a plan for when the Secretary of the Army gains approval.”
The Associated Press noted that the general also admitted that “senior military leaders” determined beforehand that the military had “no role” in securing the election.
Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt said “the Pentagon wanted to be careful about their response in part because of concerns about military helicopters that had flown low over Washington streets during protests over the killing of George Floyd by police in the summer of 2020,” the AP reported. This echoes the testimony of D.C. National Guard Commanding General William J. Walker in March that there were restrictions on the National Guard due to concern over “optics.”
“This morning you have testified that you received this letter from former Secretary [of the Army, Ryan D.] McCarthy on January 5th,” Senator Portman said. “So, the day before the attack on the Capitol. In that letter, did Secretary McCarthy prohibit you from deploying the National Guard’s quick reaction force without his authorization?”
“So, I have the letter in front of me,” General Walker replied. “And his letter does not. But it is the Secretary of Defense [Christopher C. Miller] says that I have to ‘use it as a last resort.’ But the Secretary of the Army told me, and it’s – I have the letter – that I could not use the quick reaction force. It would… I will just read it.”
“I withhold authority to approve deployment of the District of Columbia National Guard quick reaction force and will do so only as a last resort in response to a request from an appropriate civil authority,” General Walker read from the Secretary of the Army’s letter.
“I will require a concept of operation prior to authorizing the deployment of… a quick reaction force,” General Walker added. “Now, a quick reaction force is normally a commander’s tool to go help. Either a civilian agency, but more typically to help the National Guardsmen who are out there in need, need of assistance.”
Thus, the “quick reaction” force was deliberately kept from acting quickly to address a developing emergency at the Capitol grounds. This is part of a pattern of lax security around the Capitol building. It includes Capitol Police officers holding open doors and inviting protesters in, as well as telling rioters inside to ‘protest peacefully.’
It all calls into question what role Speaker Pelosi had in instructing security around the Congress to maintain a light presence. The House Sergeant at Arms, the Senate Sergeant at Arms, and the former Capitol Police Chief were all forced to resign after January 6th, in no small part due to pressure from Pelosi herself. It should be noted that the Capitol Police are the Congress’s security force and are under that body’s direct jurisdiction. That is one reason why so much regarding the Capitol Police’s actions on January 6th, including the shooting Ashli Babbitt, remain a mystery.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday that she will go to any lengths to “investigate” the January 6th Capitol riots, even if that means forming a Democrat-led partisan investigation to ‘do it herself.’ The announcement comes after a Senate vote doomed the commission from forming.
“We can’t wait any longer,” Mrs. Pelosi said on Tuesday. “We will proceed.”
Nancy Pelosi was the impetus behind originally forming what was framed as an “independent” and “bipartisan” January 6th investigation. Just like under the Trump administration, Speaker Pelosi wants to play a ceaseless blame game to deflect attention away from the Democrats’ record of failure.
It appears that there are honorable military servicemen who are still willing to speak truth to power and who won’t let the troops become the fall guys for the Democratic Party’s incompetence.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.