Ex-National Guard Official Accuses Army of ‘Stalinist’ Lies About Jan. 6

A former D.C. National Guard official accused two senior Army leaders—including Michael Flynn’s brother—of lying to Congress about the Capitol riot.
Cameron Joseph
Washington, US
Members of the National Guard and the Washington D.C. police keep demonstrators away from the Capital on January 6, 2021.
Members of the National Guard and the Washington D.C. police keep demonstrators away from the Capital on January 6, 2021.  (Photo by Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

A former D.C. National Guard official is accusing two senior Army leaders of lying to Congress and covering up their roles in delaying a military response to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Col. Earl Matthews, a senior National Security Council and Army official who was the top attorney for the D.C. National Guard on Jan. 6, recently wrote a scathing 36-page memo to the House January 6 select committee, and it was obtained by Politico.


In it, Matthews accused a pair of senior officers of initially blocking the D.C. National Guard from responding to the Capitol, then lying about what they did and said in the aftermath of the insurrection. He also blasts the Department of Defense’s inspector general for what he labels “glaring deficiencies” and “myriad inaccuracies” in its investigation of the events.

The memo paints a far different picture of why it took nearly four hours for D.C. National Guardsmen to be sent to the Capitol to help put down a violent riot by followers of President Trump than the official line from the DOD. Those rioters first breached the Capitol at 1:50 p.m., but the National Guard wasn’t sent until 5:40 p.m. that day.

Matthews accuses Army Gen. Charles Flynn, the brother of former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn who was at the time serving as the deputy chief of staff for operations, and Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt, the director of the Army staff, of causing the delays—and said his own former boss, D.C. National Guard Maj. Gen. William Walker, has been unfairly maligned.

Matthews was serving under Walker, the commander of the D.C. National Guard (and now the House Sergeant at Arms), and in that role participated in conference calls on Jan. 6 in which he said Flynn and Piatt initially blocked the D.C. National Guard from responding to the insurrection.

He said that Flynn and Piatt lied to Congress about their actions, and he accuses the Army of creating an “alternate history” of what happened that’s “worthy of the best Stalinist or North Korea propagandist.”


Matthews says that during a 2:30 p.m. conference call on Jan. 6, then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund “pleaded” for reinforcements from the National Guard, but both Flynn and Piatt opposed the move even though rioters had already made it into the halls of Congress.

“Piatt stated that it would not be his best military advice to recommend to the Secretary of the Army that the D.C. National Guard be allowed to deploy to the Capitol at that time,” Matthews wrote. “Piatt and Flynn stated that the optics of having uniformed military personnel deployed to the U.S. Capitol would not be good.”

Flynn and Piatt later denied in congressional testimony that they’d told the Guard not to deploy to the Capitol. 

“At no point on January 6 did I tell anyone that the D.C. National Guard should not deploy directly to the Capitol,” Piatt claimed in written testimony to the House Oversight Committee earlier this year.

Flynn also testified that he’d “never expressed a concern about the visuals, image, or public perception” of sending troops to the Capitol that day.

Both blamed the delay on the D.C. National Guard, claiming it wasn’t prepared to respond to the riot that day.

Matthews accused Flynn of “outright perjury” for that statement, saying on that 2:30 call he personally “heard Flynn identify himself and unmistakably heard him say that optics of a National Guard presence on Capitol Hill was an issue for him.” 

He pointed out that the D.C. National Guard had no problem responding quickly to protect federal buildings during unrest around Black Lives Matter protests during the summer of 2020. And he alleged numerous factual errors in the Department of Defense inspector general’s report that sought to clarify what happened that day.

That inspector general report claimed that Walker had to be told twice by Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy to deploy his troops to the Capitol. But Matthews says that McCarthy was “incommunicado” for much of that afternoon and calls that an “outrageous assertion.” Walker publicly called for the DOD inspector general to retract its report in mid-November, calling it “inaccurate” and “sloppy work.”

Flynn’s brother Michael Flynn, a former lieutenant general, Trump national security adviser and figure in the QAnon conspiracy, was a key player in pushing then-President Trump’s lies and conspiracy theories that the 2020 election was stolen from him, the falsehoods that fueled the attacks on Jan. 6 aimed at blocking Congress from certifying President Biden’s Electoral College victory. The memo doesn’t mention Michael Flynn, however, and it does not in any way suggest that Gen. Charles Flynn’s actions had anything to do with his brother’s views.