New information about the failure to protect the U.S. Capitol – despite intelligence suggesting a pre-planned attack – asserts that it was President Trump’s team that forced the issue of National Guard deployment, while Army officials at the Pentagon were more concerned about the backlash they might face from the media, the DC Mayor, and the political left.
The Washington Post claims to have seen a draft, internal memo from the Pentagon revealing that military planners rejected the idea of National Guard deployment ahead of the Capitol riot. This follows the news – first reported by Vanity Fair – that Trump had insisted on deploying 10,000 Guard troops in part to ensure the security of the event he was speaking at, 45 minutes walk down the road.
“You’re going to need 10,000 people… You do what you need to do. You do what you need to do,” Trump told his Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller.
Miller rightly pointed out, “…you know, someone’s going to have to ask for it.”
Now we know Miller tried his best, despite no D.C. request for Guard troops. He obeyed The Commander-in-Chief’s orders and attempted to ensure a Guard deployment in the face of an obstructionist Pentagon.
According to the latest information: “The Army ultimately relented after facing pressure from acting defense secretary Christopher C. Miller and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, and realizing that District officials weren’t going to turn to the Justice Department for help instead, as the Army had wanted.”
In other words, the Army resisted demands from senior Trump administration officials including the Defense Secretary. Until they caved, at least.
Not only does this raise questions over people who tried to ignore the chain of command, but over the entire official narrative and ongoing rationale (or lack-thereof) for the fortifications around the Capitol.
Numerous reports now assert the Capitol attack was pre-planned by fringe groups who intended to disrupt the objections to the election results in the U.S. Congress. Simply put: the objections being made by Trump-friendly Congressmen and Senators were actually thwarted by the events of January 6th.
Despite evidence of this pre-planning – including threats found by an FBI office in Virginia – both police and the U.S. army appeared unprepared and unwilling to repel the violent entryists, some of whom falsely dressed as Trump supporters.
The Washington Post report now calls it “one of the biggest national security failures since the 9/11 attacks.”
The new information also puts paid to the Pentagon’s excuses, a number of which have been proffered since Jan 6th:
In the weeks since the riot, top Pentagon officials have emphasized that the Capitol Police and federal agencies didn’t request military backup before the event, leaving the Defense Department unprepared to respond rapidly when the situation got out of control. The draft memo, however, suggests that the Army leadership also had been disinclined to get involved from the start.
The rationale for their disinclination reveals something even more problematic, and perhaps hyper-relevant given the latest political missives by armed forces in the United States.
We’ve now heard about “optics” a number of times. In other words: bods at the Pentagon were worried they’d end up looking bad, and having to explain themselves in public relations efforts. Not really what you might expect as a critical concern for the armed forces of the world’s leading superpower.
The Post report states:
Last June, Milley and then-defense secretary Mark T. Esper were excoriated by lawmakers and retired military personnel for appearing alongside President Donald Trump as federal law enforcement cleared racial-justice protesters near the White House using force and pepper balls.
They also faced blowback more broadly for militarizing Washington, with more than 5,000 National Guard troops in the city and 1,600 active-duty forces amassed nearby, in response to the unrest that followed the police killing of George Floyd.
The blowback came from the media, the Democrats, and left-wing activists in Washington, D.C. and beyond. What appears to have informed the decision of Army officials is political and media pressure following the Black Lives Matter riots and the (far more real) attempted insurrection by the political left who stormed the White House on May 29th, 2020.
A Washington Post report dated June 3rd 2020 said: “President Trump was rushed to a secure bunker in the White House on Friday evening after a group of protesters hopped over temporary barricades set up near the Treasury Department grounds, according to arrest records and people familiar with the incident… Secret Service officers detained at least four protesters, who were charged with unlawful entry at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, according to arrest records.”
The very same Washington Post now bizarrely claims (as of an article dated March 3rd 2021): “There was no ‘attack on the White House’ last year.”
This, despite video evidence of the attacks that led to the left calling President Trump a “bunker bitch.” No such moniker was used when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez locked herself in a toilet to hide from a police officer, in a building across the road from the Capitol, on January 6th.
The Washington Post’s own headlines reveal it is now lying.
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Compounding the unwillingness of the Army to act on intelligence for fear of being criticized by politicians and the media were the actions (or lack thereof) by Mayor Muriel Bowser.
The Post confirms what The National Pulse reported in February – that Bowser didn’t request the assistance of the National Guard for January 6th. In fact, she discouraged it.
Remember – as Acting Sec Def Christopher Miller told President Trump on the evening of January 5th –”someone’s going to have to ask for it.”
Bowser didn’t. And she tweeted about how she didn’t want the Guard deployed: “To be clear, the District of Columbia is not requesting other federal law enforcement personnel and discourages any additional deployment without immediate notification to, and consultation with, MPD if such plans are underway.”
Now We Know.
What we finally know about the Capitol riot is that bad actors pre-planned the disruption of the objections, just as Republicans were beginning to lay out their cases for a special investigation into the November 3rd election.
We know that Trump approved using the National Guard to secure Washington, D.C. and the Capitol. And we know the timeline of events makes it such that no earnest Trump supporter in town to listen to the President’s speech at the Ellipse could have been present at the Capitol attack as it began.
We know Mayor Muriel Bowser refused the deployment of the National Guard, and Army bureaucrats stymied attempts by Trump’s Acting Defense Secretary to ensure a day of safety.
Finally, we now also know the rationale behind the Army’s unwillingness to co-operate: what former Capitol Police Chief Steve Sund said all along: “Optics.”
In a bid to avoid another public relations crisis as Army felt it had after the May 2020 storming of the White House and subsequent D.C. rioting – they shirked their core duties.
The true tale of January 6th is not one of Trump-supporting shamen marauding through the Capitol, but rather, one of willful institutional failures by leading political, military, and media figures.
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Raheem Kassam is the Editor-in-Chief of the National Pulse, and former senior advisor to Brexit leader Nigel Farage. Kassam is the best-selling author of ‘No Go Zones’ and ‘Enoch Was Right’, a co-host at the War Room: Impeachment podcast, a Lincoln fellow at the Claremont Institute, and a fellow at the Bow Group think tank. Kassam is an academic advisory board member at the Institut des Sciences Sociales, Economiques et Politiques in Lyon, France. He resides in Washington, D.C.