Pentagon Reaction to 'Chaotic and Confusing' Jan. 6 Insurrection Were Reasonable: IG

An independent review found that the Pentagon's reaction to a "chaotic and confusing" Jan. 6 insurrection was reasonable.

A report released by the Defense Department's Office of Inspector General on Wednesday said the department's response was "appropriate, supported by requirements, consistent with the DoD's roles and responsibilities for DSCA, and compliant with laws, regulations, and other applicable guidance."

It also said acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller's and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy's decisions "were reasonable in light of the circumstances that existed on that day and requests from D.C. officials" and the Capitol Police, The Associated Press reported.

The District of Columbia National Guard took around three hours to respond to the Capitol, a fact that critics have focused on. The Pentagon has argued that time was needed to evaluate the mission, equipment and the national guard, as well as get new orders granted and delivered to commanders.

The IG report is among numerous investigations and reviews of that day. The Jan. 6 riot consisted of a violent mob of Trump supporters overtaking police and breaking into the Capitol. While inside, the rioters hunted for lawmakers. The Senate was in a meeting to verify the election while the House was in a session, The New York Times reported. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former Vice President Mike Pence were escorted out of danger.

The Pentagon inspector general performs audits, evaluations, and investigations of the Pentagon actions by law. It is an independent authority.

The inspector general centered on the military response to the Jan. 6 insurrection, while others are focusing more on the roles of then-President Donald Trump and his supporters. Probes are looking to see if they planned or motivated the assault. Supporters had met at a rally before the insurrection.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Pentagon, Reaction, Jan. 6 Insurrection
Members of the DC National Guard stand outside the U.S. Capitol, on Jan. 6, 2021, after a day of rioting protesters. An independent review has concluded that the Defense Department and its top leaders acted appropriately before and during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Julio Cortez/AP Photo, File

More than 600 individuals have been arrested and charged in connection with the insurrection, Seven people died during or after the rioting, including Trump supporter Ashli Babbit, who was shot and killed while breaking into the House chamber.

Jacob Chansley, the spear-carrying rioter whose horned fur hat, bare chest and face paint made him one of the more recognizable figures in the assault on the Capitol, was sentenced Wednesday to 41 months in prison. Chansley, who pleaded guilty to a felony charge of obstructing an official proceeding, was among the first rioters to enter the building.

The Pentagon inspector general found that the process followed by the military was appropriate, and noted that many of the Guard were not trained in law enforcement. It described a "chaotic and confusing situation" and said initial reports to the Defense Department were contradictory.

The report also said that McCarthy, the Army secretary at the time, was within his authority to require the D.C. Guard to lay out a mission plan before he would authorize their deployment. Others had questioned that decision, saying it delayed the troops' response.

Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the D.C. Guard, told senators in March that the chief of the Capitol Police at that time requested military support in a "voice cracking with emotion" in a 1:49 p.m. call as rioters began pushing toward the Capitol. Walker said he immediately relayed the request to the Army but did not learn until after 5 p.m. that the Defense Department had approved it.

The IG report found that defense officials correctly went through the approval process.

"Military personnel are trained to respond to civilian emergency events, not by sending individuals into an uncertain situation as they become available, but by assembling and deploying a force capable of decisive operations," the report concluded. "Military doctrine requires that commanders first determine essential details, conduct a mission analysis, and then develop a thorough" plan.

The IG made several recommendations. It said the department should develop specific plans for a military response to a civil disturbance within the National Capital Region, including how federal agencies must request support. And it recommended the military train with federal and local agencies on how to better coordinate when large-scale events are planned.

It also recommended that Guard personnel should be given reliable radio and communications equipment.

The report dismissed suggestions that concerns about the optics of sending Guard forces to the Capitol while Congress was in session fueled any delay, saying that McCarthy asked Miller to approve sending troops "within minutes" after his call with Capitol officials. It said such concerns "did not impact" the Pentagon response.

Pentagon, Jan. 6 insurrection, Reaction
A protester walks by as the American flag flies at half-staff at the U.S. Capitol on January 08, 2021 in Washington, DC. An independent review concluded that the Defense Department and its top leaders acted reasonably to the "chaotic and confusing" Jan. 6 insurrection. John Moore/Getty Images

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