Former Guard Official Says Army Retaliated for His Account of Jan. 6 Delay

Former Guard Official Says Army Retaliated for His Account of Jan. 6 Delay

A former high lawyer for the D.C. National Guard has accused Army officers of retaliating towards him for asserting to Congress that two high Army officers lied about why deployment of the Guard was delayed through the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol, in keeping with a criticism filed with the Defense Department and obtained by The New York Times.

Col. Earl Matthews, who beforehand served within the Trump administration and was the highest lawyer for the D.C. Guard through the Jan. 6 assault, mentioned within the criticism that he was retaliated towards after he accused two generals in a report back to Congress of constructing false statements in regards to the delayed deployment, a difficulty that has produced a number of and sometimes conflicting accounts.

“It’s textbook whistle-blower retaliation. I wrote that memo as a result of I noticed actual wrongdoing,” Colonel Matthews mentioned in his first interview because the incident. “I really like the United States Army. To me, that is about Army values.”

A duplicate of the 37-page whistle-blower reprisal complaint was filed with the Pentagon’s inspector normal in October, two months earlier than the third anniversary of the assault on Congress by a pro-Trump mob in search of to halt certification of President Biden’s 2020 election victory.

It underscores what number of questions stay about features of the federal government and legislation enforcement response to the lethal assault on the Capitol.

At the middle of this explicit dispute is a still-simmering feud contained in the army over who’s guilty for the greater than four-hour delay in deploying the National Guard because the rioters battled their manner into the Capitol, assaulting dozens of law enforcement officials alongside the way in which and endangering members of Congress, their staffs and others working within the constructing.

Colonel Matthews, who was concerned in key conferences in regards to the Guard deployment, mentioned he initially gave his account of what occurred to Congress in 2021 after he noticed high Army officers attempt to downplay their function within the delay.

In explicit, Colonel Matthews mentioned he was infuriated by a report he mentioned was overseen by Lt. Gen. Walter E. Piatt of the Army that he described as a “deceptive, factually flawed and revisionist recitation of occasions” that he seen as shifting the blame for the delay onto D.C. National Guard management. He was additionally angered by what he seen as a defective report from the Defense Department’s inspector normal that relied on a number of the similar materials.

Colonel Matthews drafted a 36-page memo that he submitted to the House Jan. 6 committee, accusing General Piatt and Gen. Charles Flynn of being “absolute and unmitigated liars” in their testimony before Congress.

In fall of 2022, the Biden White House denied General Piatt a promotion after Colonel Matthews raised considerations about his testimony.

Not lengthy after, Colonel Matthews mentioned, he confronted retaliation.

In February 2023, Colonel Matthews, who at that time was assigned to the Army War College as a part of the Army Reserve, mentioned he was falsely accused of unprofessional conduct. He mentioned he was additionally listed as an individual of concern who would possibly attempt to disrupt a army convention in Virginia being attended by General Piatt and was escorted out of a lodge internet hosting the seminar by safety personnel.

Colonel Matthews mentioned he was additionally denied consideration for promotion, regardless of having been chosen by a promotion board for brigadier normal.

In the interview, Colonel Matthews mentioned he didn’t imagine General Piatt ordered or knew in regards to the retaliation and blamed lower-ranking officers on the Army War College. One of these officers acknowledged that Colonel Matthews’s “broadly publicized assaults on Army senior leaders in relation to the Jan. 6 rebellion” factored into his perception that Colonel Matthews ought to be faraway from his place, in keeping with the criticism.

The criticism was filed with the Pentagon’s inspector normal by the legal professionals Andrew Bakaj and Mark Zaid by way of the group Whistleblower Aid. It mentioned that along with costing Colonel Matthews cash within the type of forgone wage and pension, the alleged retaliation imposed “grievous reputational hurt, important private embarrassment and public humiliation.”

Colonel Matthews is asking that the inspector normal suggest he be slated for project to brigadier normal and that those that retaliated towards him be reprimanded and punished.

He additionally needs any false or deceptive testimony in regards to the National Guard delay to be corrected within the congressional report.

As the riot unfolded on Jan. 6, General Flynn, who commanded the U.S. Army Pacific, and General Piatt, the director of the Army workers, have been concerned in a cellphone name with police leaders wherein Army officers frightened aloud in regards to the “optics” of sending in the Guard, in keeping with congressional testimony by the commander of the D.C. National Guard.

General Flynn is the brother of Michael T. Flynn, a former Army normal who was President Donald J. Trump’s first, short-lived nationwide safety adviser. Michael Flynn later took an lively function in attempting to overturn the 2020 election and urged Mr. Trump to make use of the equipment of presidency to grab voting machines.

Charles Flynn informed Congress he had not participated within the name however merely overheard parts of it when he entered the room. He mentioned he had not heard any dialogue of political issues with regard to sending within the Guard.

“I didn’t use the phrase ‘optics,’ nor did I hear the phrase used through the name on Jan. 6, 2021,” he mentioned.

But Colonel Matthews known as these feedback by General Flynn “outright perjury” and mentioned he “unmistakably heard him say that optics of a National Guard presence on Capitol Hill was a difficulty for him.”

Colonel Matthews listed a sequence of different discrepancies with the testimony by General Piatt and General Flynn.

Colonel Matthews identified that General Flynn gave contradictory testimony in several venues. That included claiming to the House Oversight Committee {that a} workforce below his path “instantly labored” to start to deploy the Guard to the Capitol, although he later informed the Jan. 6 Committee such actions weren’t in his purview.

An Army spokesman has defended the lads, calling them “open, sincere and thorough of their sworn testimony with Congress and D.O.D. investigators” and saying the army stands by “all testimony and information offered so far.”

The Pentagon’s inspector normal declined to remark. A spokeswoman for the Army mentioned she couldn’t touch upon a pending matter.

In the interview, Colonel Matthews additionally faulted the now-defunct House Jan. 6 committee for not holding a listening to on safety failures throughout its 2022 inquiry due to a choice to give attention to the actions of Mr. Trump.

“They have been centered on the president, and I perceive that,” he mentioned, “however the safety failures must be checked out as a result of we don’t need that to occur once more. And I don’t suppose that was finished.”

Colonel Matthews’s expertise on Jan. 6 is basically according to the accounts of different District of Columbia and legislation enforcement officers concerned within the response that day, together with one offered by the previous Capitol Police chief, Steven A. Sund, who mentioned the Pentagon was extra involved about “optics” than rapidly deploying the National Guard.

“I bought on a name with the Pentagon and pleaded for the National Guard,” he mentioned in an interview about his e book, “Courage Under Fire.” “There was delay after delay after delay.”



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