Pentagon watchdog raises questions over retired DC Guard commander's account of Jan. 6

A new report from the Department of Defense’s Office of Inspector General is raising questions about the account that the now-retired commander of the District of Columbia National Guard gave about deploying troops to the Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack.

The report, which was released Tuesday, found that then-commander Maj. Gen. William Walker was told twice that he was allowed to deploy troops to the Capitol after the building was breached.  

The findings appear to contradict the retired general's assertion that he would have deployed troops more quickly had the Trump administration given him the green light. 

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The report stated that, overall, Pentagon officials “did not improperly delay or obstruct the DoD’s response” to the riots on Jan. 6. 

In early March, Walker testified to Congress that then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund requested immediate assistance at around 1:49 p.m. from D.C. National Guardsmen after the security perimeter of the Capitol was breached.

Walker also said he immediately called Army officials to relay Sund’s request, but did not learn that his request was approved until 5:08 p.m., about three hours after the request was submitted.

According to the report, however, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthyRyan McCarthyOvernight Defense & National Security — Preparing for the Biden-Putin call Former DC National Guard official accuses generals of lying about Capitol riot Former DC Guard commander calls for retraction of Pentagon watchdog's Jan. 6 report MORE first told Walker by phone that the request had been approved at 4:35 p.m., and then called again to reissue the order 30 minutes later, the report found.

During the call, which occurred at 2:22 p.m., city officials were pushing for the National Guard’s immediate deployment. Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt, director of the Army Staff, told investigators that he was trying to communicate that there needed to be a clear reason for the guard to be deployed, the report stated. 

McCarthy was only on the call for a few minutes so he could relay the request to then-Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller. During the call, someone threatened to tell the media that the Army denied the request.

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The call ended at around 2:45 p.m. after someone on the call reported gunshots being fired at the Capitol.

McCarthy went to the D.C. Metropolitan Police headquarters at around 3:48 p.m. to meet with Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee and D.C. Mayor Muriel BowserMuriel BowserMask rules spark political games and a nasty environment in the House DC adding vaccine, testing centers as region's COVID-19 death rate increases Feehery: DC will become the inverse of West Berlin MORE, during which they developed a plan for what Guard personnel would do when they arrived at the Capitol. 

While Defense Department officials were found to have acted properly, the report made recommendations for how the Pentagon responds to future incidents in the Capitol area. 

The report recommended that the Pentagon consider formulating a plan for how it and the D.C. National Guard responds to major civil disturbance events in the National Capitol Region.

It also recommended that federal and non-federal agencies be trained on how to request assistance from the Pentagon.

In a statement to The Hill, Pentagon spokesman Christopher Sherwood said "we value the recommendations of the DoD Office of the Inspector General." 

"While the DODIG found that the department’s actions were appropriate, we will review the recommendations and take the necessary steps [to] improve our processes in the event of future DSCA missions within Washington, D.C.," Sherwood said. 

The Hill has reached out to the D.C. National Guard for comment.

Updated: Nov. 19 at 11:04 a.m.