Drum commander to speak at JCC about Iraq tonight

Lt. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, a former commander of Fort Drum and now serving as the director of Army Staff, addresses community leaders during division command post training at Fort Drum in 2018. Watertown Daily Times

WASHINGTON — Lt. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, a former commander of Fort Drum and now serving as the director of Army Staff, has come under fire that the Pentagon dragged its feet to send the National Guard to assist with last Wednesday’s Capitol riots.

Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund accused Gen. Piatt of refusing the deployment to the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday because the general — former commander of the 10th Mountain Division — didn’t like the optics of sending the National Guard while pro-Trump rioters sieged the building, according to multiple media reports on Monday.

In an interview, Mr. Sund told the Washington Post the Pentagon refused to act immediately to send the National Guard reinforcements in numerous calls while the rioters were about to storm the Capitol.

Criticism of the Pentagon by the District of Columbia and Capitol Police officials has centered on a phone call at about 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, when Gen. Piatt allegedly told a pleading Mr. Sund that there were concerns about sending the D.C. Guard into the Capitol in response to what was a mounting emergency, according to the Post.

Mr. Sund, who has resigned as the Capitol Police Chief, said that he called the Pentagon six times pleading for National Guard assistance during the riot, according to media reports.

In the Washington Post story, Mr. Sund recalled Piatt saying: “I don’t like the visual of the National Guard standing in a police line with the Capitol in the background.”

The Capitol Police have jurisdiction over the Capitol and Congress.

On Tuesday, Gen. Piatt denied the former police chief’s account of the phone calls and how and when the National Guard was deployed to the Capitol on Wednesday.

The top Army official contradicted what Mr. Sund told the Washington Post occurred on a conference call between officials. He told local officials that he didn’t have the authority to grant the deployment.

In a statement, Gen. Piatt said he stayed on the phone while Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy got approval for the deployment from Acting Secretary of the Army Christopher Miller to request approval.

Gen. Piatt told local officials that he didn’t have the authority to grant the deployment. He said he worked with the call participants to develop a deployment plan.

The Pentagon and Washington, D.C. officials have blamed each other for the failure to protect the Capitol, Congressional members and their staffs and the violence that occurred when marauders took over the building during the riot.

Five people died, including a Capitol police officer, during the siege.

As the result of Wednesday’s riot, as many as 15,000 members of the National Guard could be sent to protect the Capitol during President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

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(3) comments

Eagle24

There've been many marches in Washington...2017 over 400,000 women marched... zero arrests...1969 600,000 marched over Vietnam... followed by others of at least 100,000... Million man march...400,000... with less security than we had for last week's mob of 2000-4000... Point being, someone triggered the throng to storm the Capitol...and neither the general or capitol police had time to adjust.... there's blame to go around...but don't direct it at the general... or capitol police..

rdsouth

Good call LTG Piatt. Dems and other sane people will be mining this political gold for some time to come. You could have just complied with the request, blaming the police chief if anything went wrong. But no, you stuck to your guns and something went wrong. Thanks.

Holmes

The General can not call out the NG. That authority is granted to the SecDef through EO11485. All General can do is to submit the request to the Sec of the Army who in turn can submit it to SecDef. DC Code 49-105 allows the mayor to ask the president, whose authority as CiC of the DCNG has been delegated to the SecArmy to deploy the DCNG to suppress disturbances. Apparently, the mayor didn’t do this. I think some people have mined some ‘fools gold’...

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