Pentagon and DC officials trade barbs over handling of Capitol riot
January 9, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
Compression ratio: 23.8%. 2 min read.
Members of the DC National Guard are deployed outside of the US Capitol in Washington DC on January 6, 2021. - Trump supporters remain outside, defying a 6.00 pm (2300 GMT) curfew imposed across the city by Mayor Muriel Bowser. Donald Trump's supporters stormed a session of Congress held today, January 6, to certify Joe Biden's election win, triggering unprecedented chaos and violence at the heart of American democracy and accusations the president was attempting a coup. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
As a mob of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol in Washington and breached the American legislature for the first time since 1814, efforts to mobilize the National Guard in an unprecedented crisis were hamstrung by bureaucracy and confusion between Pentagon, DC government and Capitol police officials.
(CNN)As a mob of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol in Washington and breached the American legislature for the first time since 1814, efforts to mobilize the National Guard in an unprecedented crisis were hamstrung by bureaucracy and confusion between Pentagon, DC government and Capitol police officials.
Hamstrung by the bureaucracy surrounding the deployment of soldiers within the national capital, it took 90 minutes to approve Mayor Muriel Bowser's call for more troops, much of that time consumed by phone calls with the mayor and others to determine exactly what forces to send and how they were to be equipped, according to the defense official and a timeline of the evening released by the office of Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller on Friday.
Only 31% of the total force of the DC National Guard was in place before the planned protests and they were assigned to control traffic and monitor metro stations.
As late as Monday, the Department of Defense offered more soldiers from the DC National Guard to support law enforcement.
The Department of Defense relied exclusively on the assessments of Capitol Police and law enforcement authorities as the military is strictly prohibited under federal law from conducting its own surveillance in the United States.
"We rely on Capitol Police and federal law enforcement authorities to provide an assessment of the situation they foresaw," said Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman, who was also on the call.
But the deployment of additional National Guard soldiers took time, bogged down by the complex bureaucracy surrounding law enforcement in the national capital and the command structure of the Guard itself.
A second with the mayor and other city and law enforcement officials occurred at 2:22 p. m. Even then, the process for deploying National Guard units to support law enforcement on Capitol grounds was not instantaneous.
"When we got the call around 2 p. m. , we had mobilized our entire guard, moved our personnel off of their traffic control points, back to the armory, put on riot gear and were in position in less than two hours to then go and help support the clearing of the Capitol," McCarthy said Thursday.
In June, members of the Guard stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in body armor and camouflage as law enforcement operated throughout the city, including the forceful police clearing of peaceful protesters for a presidential photo-op.
But defense officials point to the role of the National Guard as a last line of enforcement in the Capitol, backing up all of the law enforcement agencies that already have the authority and the jurisdiction to operate in DC.
By Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 p. m. , most of the original 340 soldiers from the DC National Guard were all near the Capitol, supporting law enforcement there and helping to establish and secure a perimeter around the building.
The Department of Defense also approved New York and Delaware requests to bring in soldiers from their National Guards.
They will deploy to DC for a minimum of 30 days, working in 12-hour shifts of 850 people on the Capitol grounds and helping other law enforcement agencies.