WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Pentagon officials took more than three hours to approve a request by the U.S. Capitol Police for National Guard troops to back up police under attack by rioters at the Capitol on Jan. 6, a military commander told a Senate hearing Wednesday.
Major General William Walker, the District of Columbia’s National Guard commander, told senators that an emotional Capitol Police chief Brian Sund, who resigned after the riot, contacted him at 1:49 p.m. on Jan. 6 to request urgent National Guard backup as violent demonstrators began to attack the Capitol building.
Walker told a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Rules committees that the day before the riot, he requested and received Pentagon permission to have on standby a 40-member “quick reaction force” and 155 other D.C. guard members.
But Walker said that on Jan. 5, he also received a written order from then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy that he could only deploy the reaction force as a last resort and with a specific operational plan.
Walker said defense officials did not give him final permission to deploy Guard forces until 3 hours and 19 minutes after he received the Capitol Police chief’s urgent request.