The Pentagon Didn't Work To See Members Of Congress Killed... But Someone IN The Pentagon Did-- Who?
Trump put some of his most vicious, amoral partisans into the Pentagon chain of command in the last month his regime. It made a lot of people very nervous but commanders of troops assured members of Congress that no illegal orders would be obeyed-- like starting a "wag the dog" war or assaulting his domestic "enemies." But maybe what Trump had in mind wasn't doing something-- but not doing something.
Today, Paul Sonne's Washington Post report, Pentagon Restricted His Authority Ahead Of Capitol Riot is missing one thing, something that I'm sure Congress will get to quickly: who? "The commander of the D.C. National Guard," wrote Sonne, "said the Pentagon restricted his authority ahead of the riot at the U.S. Capitol, requiring higher-level sign-off to respond that cost time as the events that day spiraled out of control. Local commanders typically have the power to take military action on their own to save lives or prevent significant property damage in an urgent situation when there isn’t enough time to obtain approval from headquarters. But Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, the commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, said the Pentagon essentially took that power and other authorities away from him ahead of a pro-Trump protest on Jan. 6. That meant he couldn’t immediately roll out troops when he received a panicked phone call from the Capitol Police chief warning that rioters were about to enter the U.S. Capitol. 'All military commanders normally have immediate response authority to protect property, life, and in my case, federal functions-- federal property and life,' Walker said in an interview. 'But in this instance I did not have that authority.' Walker and former Army secretary Ryan McCarthy are set to brief the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday behind closed doors about the events, the beginning of what is likely to become a robust congressional inquiry into the preparations for a rally that devolved into a riot at the Capitol, leaving five people dead and representing a significant security failure."
Suddenly Walker needed to wait for "highest-level approval" from McCarthy and acting defense secretary Christopher Miller before sending troops to the Capitol, even though some 40 soldiers were on standby as a quick reaction force. Who charged that? Did it originate with Trump or any of his fellow coup-plotters? There already seems to be a coverup being hatched-- to blame the changes on the Guard's reaction the the BLM demonstration in June. 'After June, the authorities were pulled back up to the secretary of defense’s office,' McCarthy said in comments to The Post. 'Any time we would employ troops and guardsmen in the city, you had to go through a rigorous process. As you recall, there were events in the summer that got a lot of attention, and that was part of this.'"
Had he not been restricted, Walker said he could have dispatched members of the D.C. Guard sooner. Asked how quickly troops could have reached the Capitol, which is two miles from the D.C. Guard headquarters at the Armory, Walker said, “With all deliberate speed-- I mean, they’re right down the street.”
...The request came, but only at 1:49 p.m. the day of the attempted insurrection. Sund called Walker to say rioters were about to breach the building and the Capitol Police would soon request urgent backup.
“I told him I had to get permission from the secretary of the Army and I would send him all available guardsmen but as soon as I got permission to do so,” Walker said. “I sent a message to the leadership of the Army, letting them know the request that I had received from Chief Sund.”
Permission from the Pentagon wouldn’t come for another hour and fifteen minutes, according to a Defense Department timeline of events, as members of Congress barricaded themselves in their offices and hid from a marauding horde trying to undo the Nov. 3 election.
In the meantime, Sund dialed into a phone call with the Pentagon.
In an interview with The Post, Sund recalled Army staff director, Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt, saying, “I don’t like the visual of the National Guard standing a police line with the Capitol in the background.”
Piatt, in a statement, initially said he didn’t make those remarks or any comments similar to them. Later, he backtracked, saying he didn’t recall citing such concerns but note-takers in the room told him he may have said that. Piatt, who wasn’t in the chain of command, was leading the call while waiting for the Army secretary to receive approval for the full activation of the D.C. Guard from the defense secretary.
Walker said a lot of people were on the chaotic call.
...In the days before the protest, all the living former defense secretaries warned the Pentagon not to get involved in the peaceful transition of power, after reports that former national security adviser Michael Flynn had raised the possibility with President Donald Trump of declaring martial law to “rerun” the election.
The day before the Jan. 6 event, a senior U.S. official told The Post the military had “learned its lesson” after being rebuked over Trump’s heavy-handed response to racial justice protests last year. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the details of the preparations, said the military would be “absolutely nowhere near the Capitol building” because “we don’t want to send the wrong message.”
Pentagon officials were also concerned that sending Guard troops who answered to the president into the Capitol during the riot could give the impression that the military was aiding Trump’s supporters in a coup. Senior defense officials said federal law enforcement should always be in the lead clearing buildings, rather than soldiers, who shouldn’t be the tip of the spear on U.S. soil.
Members of the D.C. Guard ultimately arrived at the Capitol around 5:30 p.m. and helped establish a perimeter around the grounds. D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) first called McCarthy, the Army secretary, to request an unspecified number of troops at the scene four hours earlier.
...Because the District is not a state, the president technically controls the D.C. Guard but defers his power to the defense secretary and Army secretary.
Memos obtained by The Post show how tightly the Pentagon restricted Walker ahead of the events.
In a Jan. 5 memo, the Army secretary, who is Walker’s direct superior in the chain of command, prohibited him from deploying the quick reaction force composed of 40 soldiers on his own and said any rollout of that standby group would first require a “concept of operation,” an exceptional requirement given that the force is supposed to respond to emergencies.
McCarthy, the Army secretary, was also restricted by his superior, the acting defense secretary. In a Jan. 4 memo, McCarthy was prohibited from deploying D.C. Guard members with weapons, helmets, body armor or riot control agents without defense secretary approval. McCarthy retained the power to deploy the quick reaction force “only as a last resort.”
Miller, in a recent interview with Vanity Fair, dismissed accusations that the Defense Department dragged its feet in rolling out the Guard. “Oh, that is complete horseshit,” Miller said, contending the Pentagon leadership “had their game together.”
Top Pentagon officials said they didn’t deploy the quick reaction force during the riot because they hadn’t approved a “concept of operations” ahead of time with the Capitol Police.
I sure hope members of the House Appropriations Committee don't leave it at that bullshit. The Committee has a whole lotta untrustworthy members, not just Republicans, but cover-up Democraps like Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX), Derek Kilmer (New Dem-WA), Pete Aguilar (New Dem-CA), Cheri Bustos (New Dem-IL), Charlie Crist (Blue Dog-FL), Ann Kirkpatrick (New Dem-AZ), Ed Case (Blue Dog-HI), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (New Dem-FL), Sanford Bishop (Blue Dog-GA). On the other hand, Barbara Lee (D-CA), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) and Matt Cartwright (D-PA) are on the committee and they;'re not going to allow any monkey business.