Former secretary of the military said the DC National Guard had no mission plan before the Capitol riot beyond local traffic control

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But McCarthy also told Congress that further plans would only have happened if the U.S. Capitol Police or local Washington officials requested them.

“114 citizen soldiers (…) were spread over 20 city blocks (…) without any contingency plan or reminder for a change of mission in place,” the statement read.

A relatively small number of guards were in Washington on January 6 to help the city police force control traffic to allow local authorities to focus on everything related to the protests planned in the city. McCarthy’s statement highlights the lack of preparedness of government and federal law enforcement agencies to aggressively respond to a crisis that day, which ultimately saw a violent attack on the Capitol that resulted in death five people, including a member of the United States Capitol Police. officer.

The former official’s comments come on the same day, Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman told the same committee that “the department failed to meet its own high standards” on the 6th. January. Pittman, who apologized on behalf of his department, also told the panel the department was aware of a “high potential for violence” targeting Congress and failed to take appropriate action to prevent it.
Major General William J. Walker, commanding general of the Washington National Guard, says his authority was curtailed by the Department of Defense prior to the Capitol riot, a move he says prevented his forces to get to the attack sooner than they did, The Washington Post reported earlier Tuesday.

Walker told the Post that the authority he usually had to send troops into dire situations and other powers were taken away from him before the riot. This meant “he could not immediately deploy troops when he received a panicked phone call” from the United States Capitol Police Chief warning him that a host of supporters of President Donald Trump were on the scene. point of breaking through the iconic building during an attack.

“All military commanders normally have the power to intervene immediately to protect federal property, life and, in my case, federal functions – federal property and life,” Walker told the Post. “But in this case, I didn’t have that authority.”

Asked by the newspaper how quickly his troops could have made it to Capitol Hill, which is near the DC National Guard headquarters, Walker said, “With all the deliberate speed – I mean, they’re right down the road. Street.”

In the days leading up to the protest, defense officials stripped Walker of the ability to deploy the 40-person Rapid Reaction Force (QRF) on his own, demanding instead that he seek approval from the Secretary of the army. In a letter from McCarthy to the Justice Department written two days before the riot, he said the QRF could only be deployed as a last resort.

The move was made in the days leading up to January 6 during the planning of what was to be a much less violent protest. If deployed, the QRF was only able to assist in traffic control and crowd management, which were the approved tasks for guards on the street.

Walker’s call with former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steve Sund took place at 1:49 p.m. that day, according to an official Defense Secretary’s calendar of events, 15 minutes later. that the Secretary of the Army spoke to the mayor of DC. DC National Guards who were already on the streets for traffic control were withdrawn soon after to be fitted with riot gear.

On Monday, Walker admitted that he did not have the authority to deploy troops on his own, even with a direct request from the mayor’s office.

“Since I have been in charge, we have been very responsive to (DC Mayor Muriel Bowser). She makes a request, it comes to me. “said Walker, speaking alongside National Guard Bureau Chief Gen. Daniel Hokanson and Acting Secretary of the Army John Whitley.

Defense officials acknowledged that the “overly bureaucratic” process required to activate and deploy the DC National Guard took precious time as the riot unfolded on Capitol Hill.

“There are too many people involved in the decision, and ultimately no one, one responsible person,” McCarthy told CNN last week, adding, “It makes the response very difficult and slow.”

Pentagon officials have repeatedly denied accusations that it has denied or delayed the deployment of additional troops as the riot escalated, although McCarthy said the response was hampered by an “archaic system.”

Walker’s comments add to the chain of events already complicated from January 6, and could come under scrutiny by Congress in any potential investigation into the attack and government preparations ahead of a rally organized by Trump that day in which he, along with several others, was incited to attack the Capitol.

This story has been updated with additional reports.

CNN Ellie Kaufman, Whitney Wild, Annie Grayer and Chandelis Duster contributed to this report.


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