In a 36-page memo, Col. Earl Matthews, who held high-level National Security Council and Pentagon roles during the Trump administration, slams the Pentagon’s inspector general for what he calls an error-riddled report that protects a top Army official who argued against sending the National Guard to the Capitol on Jan. 6, delaying the insurrection response for hours.
Matthews’ memo, sent to the Jan. 6 select committee this month and obtained by POLITICO, includes detailed recollections of the insurrection response as it calls two Army generals — Gen. Charles Flynn, who served as deputy chief of staff for operations on Jan. 6, and Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt, the director of Army staff — “absolute and unmitigated liars” for their characterization of the events of that day. Matthews has never publicly discussed the chaos of the Capitol siege.
Matthews’ memo levels major accusations: that Flynn and Piatt lied to Congress about their response to pleas for the D.C. Guard to quickly be deployed on Jan. 6; that the Pentagon inspector general’s November report on Army leadership’s response to the attack was “replete with factual inaccuracies”; and that the Army has created its own closely held revisionist document about the Capitol riot that’s “worthy of the best Stalinist or North Korea propagandist.”
The memo follows Walker’s own public call for the inspector general to retract its detailed report on the events of Jan. 6, as first reported by The Washington Post.
A 2:30 phone call
Matthews’ memo begins by focusing on a 2:30 p.m. conference call on Jan. 6 that included senior military and law enforcement officials, himself and Walker among them. Then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund “pleaded” on the call for the immediate deployment of the National Guard to the Capitol, Matthews recalled, saying that rioters had breached the building’s perimeter. Walker has also told Congress that Sund made that plea then. According to Matthews, Flynn and Piatt both opposed the move.
“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.”
Piatt and Flynn suggested instead that Guardsmen take over D.C. police officers’ traffic duties so those officers could head to the Capitol, Matthews continues.
Everyone on the call was “astounded” except Piatt and Flynn, Matthews wrote.
Matthews’ memo also homes in on a document that Army officials have referenced but never fully revealed, titled “Report of the Army’s Operations on January 6 2021.” In Matthews’ view, it lays out a fabricated timeline in a bid to burnish the Army’s reputation.
According to Matthews, Piatt helped produce the document after a series of bruising congressional hearings and news reports that damaged the reputations of Army senior leadership — among them, a Washington Post report that the Army falsely denied Flynn’s participation in the 2:30 p.m. phone call.