Former DC National Guard official accuses generals of lying about Capitol riot

A former D.C. National Guard official is accusing two Army generals of lying about the military’s response to the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol. 

Col. Earl Matthews, who at the time was the top attorney for then-D.C. National Guard commander Maj. Gen. William Walker, wrote a memo to the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack that was obtained by Politico.

In the memo, Matthews called Gen. Charles Flynn and Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt, director of Army staff, “absolute and unmitigated liars” for their recollections of the Capitol riot.

Matthews said the men lied in their testimonies to Congress about how they responded to pleas for the D.C. Guard to be deployed on Jan. 6, what they told the Department of Defense’s Office of Inspector General in a report released last month and that the Army has a document about the riot that is “worthy of the best Stalinist or North Korea propagandist,” Politico reported.

Army spokesman Mike Brady said in a statement Monday it stands by “all testimony and facts provided to date, and vigorously reject any allegations to the contrary.”

Asked about the memo, Matthews told Politico that the Army “has never failed us and did not do so on January 6, 2021.”

“However, occasionally some of our Army leaders have failed us and they did so on January 6th,” Matthews continued. “Then they lied about it and tried to cover it up. They tried to smear a good man and to erase history.”

The memo comes weeks after Walker, who is now the House sergeant-at-arms, demanded the inspector general’s report to be retracted because it contradicted his account of when he was told to send troops to the Capitol.

The watchdog’s report revealed that Walker had been called twice by then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy informing him that the D.C. National Guard had been approved to help Capitol Police, once at 4:35 p.m. and again 30 minutes later.

D.C. National Guard personnel hadn’t arrived at the Capitol until hours after the initial breach, which has been the subject of much scrutiny.  

A spokesperson for the Jan. 6 panel declined to comment to The Hill. The Hill has reached out to the Pentagon inspector general and D.C. National Guard for comment.

According to Matthews’s memo, senior military and law enforcement officials, including himself and Walker, pleaded to deploy the Guard to the Capitol in a call that occurred around 2:30 p.m. Both Flynn and Piatt suggested that the Guard take over D.C. police’s traffic duties so that they could be deployed to the Capitol, the memo added. 

“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.”

In a separate document obtained by Politico, the D.C. National Guard says that Piatt and Flynn suggested the D.C. guard “stand by” at 2:37 p.m. Four minutes later, Flynn further advised the Guard to stand by until McCarthy and then-acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller received the requests.

Both Piatt and Flynn have denied to Congress that they said the Guard shouldn’t deploy to the Capitol. 

“The Army’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,” Brady, the Army spokesman, said in a statement.

“As the Inspector General concluded, actions taken ‘were appropriate, supported by requirements, consistent with the DOD’s roles and responsibilities for DSCA, and compliant with laws, regulations, and other applicable guidance,’ ” he added. 

Asked on Monday whether there was any motivation to review or further investigate the timeline of events and discrepancies between the D.C. National Guard and the Army’s accounts, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby that “there will be no such effort.”

The Department of Defense Inspector General’s office said it “welcomes inquiries and discussion regarding our oversight work,” in a statement to The Hill.

“These discussions are a cornerstone of transparency and provide our organization the opportunity to affirm our independent and objective oversight,” it said. “We stand behind the conclusions in our review of the Department of Defense’s role, responsibilities, and actions to prepare for and respond to the protest and its aftermath at the U.S. Capitol campus on January 6, 2021.”

This story was updated at 4:18 p.m.

Tags John Kirby Ryan McCarthy

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