Defense Watchdog Says Pentagon Wasn’t Slow to Respond to Jan. 6

By Mark Tapscott
Mark Tapscott
Mark Tapscott
Congressional Correspondent
HillFaith Founding Editor, Congressional Correspondent for The Epoch Times, FOIA Hall of Fame, Reaganaut, Okie/Texan.
November 17, 2021 Updated: November 17, 2021

Pentagon officials didn’t delay in responding to the multiple requests for assistance they received before and during the Jan. 6 breach at the U.S. Capitol complex, according to the Department of Defense (DOD) inspector general (IG).

“We concluded that the actions the DOD took before Jan. 6, 2021, to prepare for the planned protests in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, were appropriate, supported by requirements, consistent with the DOD’s roles and responsibilities for DSCA [Defense Security Cooperation Agency], and compliant with laws, regulations, and other applicable guidance,” the IG stated in a lengthy report released on Nov. 16.

“We also examined the actions the DOD took before Jan. 6, 2021, that were independent of the District of Columbia (DC) Request for Assistance (RFA). We looked for a role or responsibility for the DOD to act preemptively to prevent or deter what later happened at the Capitol. We found none.

“On the contrary, we found restrictions that limited the DOD’s roles and responsibilities in planning and providing support for domestic civil disturbance operations (CDO). These restrictions, set forth in statutes and implementing DOD directives, do not limit what civil authorities can request, but rather mandate what support DOD can provide to civilian authorities by setting strict limits,” the IG continued. “We also determined that DOD officials did not delay or obstruct the DOD’s response to the U.S. Capitol Police RFA on Jan. 6, 2021.”

The IG report follows a bitter debate since Jan. 6 about who was responsible for the breaching of the U.S. Capitol by hundreds of protestors, dozens of whom were arrested and remain in custody in a D.C. jail.

Democrats and Republicans have gone back and forth about who was ultimately responsible for the failure to secure the Capitol against what was expected to be thousands of protestors.

Democrats have claimed then-President Donald Trump delayed the DOD response, while Republicans have pointed at Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for failing to act quickly.

Pelosi in April suggested there were delays by then-Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller in responding to the Capitol Police’s request for help. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley strongly denied Pelosi’s claim.

Reacting to the IG report on Nov. 16, Miller told Just the News that it “broke my heart” to see the military, which “responded really with alacrity and professionalism,” just “get thrown under the bus by the politicians. I was so naive. I couldn’t believe it. When it comes to national security, I thought we’re on the same team. I was really horrified that it had become so partisan.”

The IG report described a great deal of confusion in the hours immediately prior to the protests and as the Capitol was breached, and said military leaders weren’t formally requested to send help until protestors were roaming the floors of the Senate and House.

“Before and on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, DOD leadership had no indication that later that day the USCP would make an emergency Defense Support of Civilian Authorities (DSCA) RFA to the DOD for an immediate response to the Capitol,” the IG stated.

“We also note that on Jan. 5 and in the morning on Jan. 6, no incidents occurred that foreshadowed the events of the afternoon of Jan. 6 at the Capitol, and no federal agency, including the USCP, requested DOD assistance for anticipated civil disturbances.”

In addition, the Pentagon received contradictory information from Capitol authorities about what was happening.

“Initial reports the DOD received about ongoing events during the early afternoon of Jan. 6, 2021, were contradictory. For example, after the first breach of the Capitol perimeter, the Army Operations Center received information from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) suggesting that no major incidents were occurring,” the report stated.

That confusion was especially important during a critical conference call in the early afternoon.

“While events unfolded on Jan. 6, 2021, a chaotic and confusing situation developed that affected the conference call at approximately 2:20 p.m. between senior leaders from the DOD, Army Staff, District of Columbia National Guard (DCNG), D.C. government, and USCP. This was critical because the USCP made its request for immediate emergency assistance during the conference call,” according to the report.

A spokesman for Pelosi didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), the top Republican on the House Administration Committee and the leading GOP critic of Pelosi’s decisions on and in the aftermath of Jan. 6, also didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The administration panel has oversight of the U.S. Capitol Police.

Mark Tapscott
Congressional Correspondent
HillFaith Founding Editor, Congressional Correspondent for The Epoch Times, FOIA Hall of Fame, Reaganaut, Okie/Texan.