Earlier John noted the reporting about COL Matthews’ memo to Congress alleging that the Department of the Army is attempting to cover its six (for the non veterans reading this, read six as tuchas) regarding decision making made by LTG Piatt, the Army’s then Director of the Army Staff, and (now) GEN Charles Flynn, then the Army’s Director of Operation and currently the Commanding General of US Army Pacific (USARPAC), in regard to deploying the DC National Guard to relieve the Capitol.
I’ve read the reporting of COL Matthews’ allegations, much of which was previously reported about LTG Piatt’s, GEN Flynn’s, then Army Secretary McCarthy’s, and then Acting Secretary of Defense Miller’s actions and decision making on 6 JAN, and here’s my take. COL Matthews would not have written and submitted this memo without at least the tacit blessing of his former 2 star boss from that day in order to get this information out to rebut the Army IG’s report. The 2 star, MG William Walker, who on 6 JAN was the Commanding General of the DC National Guard, cannot come out and make these allegations himself because of general officer politics and because of his current position as the House Sergeant at Arms. As a result, COL Matthews, who was his Staff Judge Advocate (SJA), has made the allegations to defend both the DC National Guard’s and MG Walker’s reputations. To prevent both from becoming the Army’s official scapegoats.
I can’t prove this. But I’ve served as the senior advisor to a several 2 and 3 star generals and that’s my professional read on the situation. Given that the Staff Judge Advocate is, of course, an attorney and attorney’s memorialize everything of importance, I would expect that COL Matthews has contemporaneous notes. I can’t prove that either, but it would not surprise me.
Beyond that I do not know MG Walker, COL Matthews, LTG Piatt, GEN Flynn, or, as far as I know, anyone at the Headquarters Department of the Army (HQDA) Inspector General’s office. I know nothing of them other than what has been reported. But this has all the hallmarks of a general officer to general officer dispute over responsibility for actions or lack thereof taken on 6 JAN.
It will now be up to the House Special Select Committee for 6 JAN to determine who is telling the truth and who is not.
I accuse TRUMP, in the WHITE HOUSE, with the BIG LIE.
how does the committee get those notes?
I wonder if they planned on asking Michael Flynn if he communicated with his brother about June 6th. Since Flynn asked for a delay, it wouldn’t surprise me. M. Flynn already lied under oath once, so why not again. Haven’t had time to read John’s post yet, but will later.
I’m having trouble understanding exactly who is being accused of what. But where would a little shit-fight like this in the military get sorted out if there wasn’t a House Special Select Committee? Is there some sort of Pentagon equivalent of a special council or grand jury?
Adam, why does “six” mean “tuchas” in the military (in the context of “covering one’s”)?
@SiubhanDuinne: your six is behind you, like your tuchas, which IS your behind.
twelve is ahead, three to your right, nine to your left
it’s like a clock.
@SiubhanDuinne: Clock face. 12 o’clock is straight ahead, 6 is directly behind you. Allows you to quickly direct your teammates’ attention in the right direction, which is handy when someone’s shooting at you.
@SiubhanDuinne: Clock face. 12:00 is forward. Right is 3:00, and left is 9:00. 6:00 is straight behind. Unless you are artillery, in which case a circle has 6400 mils. And 3200 is it. But most soldiers aren’t that concerned with accuracy.
Before I go any further: Chag Ulim Samayach Adam!
It really looks like the witness list for the 6 JAN* committee is about to get longer to me.
*in deference to military parlance.
EDIT: speaking of military parlance…no less than three of y’all jumped in to answer Subaru Diane, Mob Enforcer! And I actually considered piping in but I deferred to the experts. :P
Adam L Silverman
@eddie blake: Request them and/or subpoena them.
Adam, you should know that you have made at least one BJer happy with your analysis. Some people say that is not always the case.
As long as nobody’s thrown down yet, I guess we can just let the process work itself out.
Thanks from a fan.
Adam L Silverman
@SiubhanDuinne: Use the numbers on a clock face as if the 12 is directly in front of you, 3 O Clock is where your right arm is, 9 O Clock is where your left arm is. Six O Clock is behind you. So a person’s six is their butt. Hence the term “covering your six”.
Also I can’t imagine that the Top Brass is keen on watching this play out on cable news. Does the fact that it is in the news mean that someone has bucked the chain of command and will likely have hell to pay?
@Adam L Silverman: is the dc guard is in possession of them or does matthews have them?
Adam L Silverman
@SpaceUnit: Nope. Promotion boards are one place these kinds of things get worked out. Which is why the 2 star isn’t commenting much at all. Because he wants to be a three star. Assignment decisions are another.
Adam L Silverman
@topclimber: You’re welcome and thanks for the kind words.
Adam L Silverman
@eddie blake: I have no idea. I don’t know they even exist. I suspect that Matthews made notes, it’s what I would do, so I could do an engagement summary for the boss as soon as I could after the call. But I have no specific knowledge.
J R in WV
So. It still comes back to “I know nothink, nothink!” when the excrement hits the air mover…
More seriously, thanks for the insight into high level machinations at the roots of the military machine… I guess these guys were all at the Pentagon on 06Jan2021 ? Wherever they were, I bet all those communications were preserved for future generations to learn from.
‘Cause nothing is more important that whose fault it all was once the shit hits the fan.
@Adam L Silverman: gotcha. also, i too, really appreciate the analysis you provide. your unique perspective is invaluable. (also enjoy your comic book digressions, but that’s another story) thank you for the time you put in here.
Adam L Silverman
@eddie blake: You’re welcome. And thank you too for the kind words.
It’s like a clock face. 12 o’clock is straight ahead, and 6 o’clock is straight behind.
edit: asked and answered. thank you
Ultimately, should the military review this for Court Martial offensives for someone – one of them has certainly done a serious crime; lying to congress (extremely serious) or lying to falsely incriminate a fellow officer (almost as serious.) Someone has to be court martialed! This can’t just be a they said, he said issue for the media.
@Cermet: Why only one? if they both lied, why not both?
Got it! Thanks, everyone. It’s like a clock, but not a military 24-hour clock. It’s like an analog clock, but kids who only know digital are screwed. And as for the old men who reckon time by hourglasses, sundials, and water clocks, may god have mercy on your sixes.
Adam, thanks for all your informative posts. You have expert insight into realms that few of us can plumb without your help.
I never found it plausible that the hours long delay in responding to the attack on the capitol was in good faith. You had the next 2 or 3 in succession to the president plus the VP elect and both houses of Congress under attack. Weapons were drawn, shots were fired, and there were multiple casualties before approval for reinforcements was given. That combined with the presence of the brother to one of the coup plotters as a decision maker and the conflict between the DoD and the Biden transition team (the DoD stopped cooperating and sharing information and lied about why) makes me think the delay was intentional. They wanted to give the insurrectionists time to accomplish their mission.
Wasn’t there also an issue with Biden’s Secret Service detail? I seem to recall a story about Biden getting a team of people who had been retired or not part of the POTUS protective detail. Anyone else remember this?
@MomSense: I think Biden is using a team based on the one from his VP term.
J R in WV
Biden didn’t want a team who worked for The Former Guy around hi and his family 24/7 — and who can blame him? So he now has at least part of the team that kept Biden and President Obama alive and well for 8 years.
Off topic: I just ordered some nice stuff from Macy’s, and at the end of the process the credit card was declined. Moments later the phone rang — it was the credit card people, asking if I had just spent $nnn at Macy’s, once I pressed the # for yes it was I, then said try your transaction again.
It worked like a charm, the whole transaction was hanging there waiting for the retry. Great security working for us, as long as we’re at home trying to buy. Since we can’t use a cell phone at home, the cell phones aren’t used for anything like this. So if I’m at the mall, as opposed to sitting at the terminal/computer, we’re hosed.
Just to belatedly pile on to the numerous responses you got, I will point out that you probably remember the film and/or TV series Twelve O’Clock High, whose title derives from this same system—with the addition that in the air you’re working in three dimensions. (“Straight ahead and up!”).
But this has all the hallmarks of a general officer to general officer dispute over responsibility for actions or lack thereof taken on 6 JAN.
Seems to this amateur like the last 8 words are carrying most of the weight there.
This ain’t just some pissing battle over who gets the E-ring office. This is about, y’know, defending the Capitol and Congress of the United States against a violent mob attack.
One certainly hopes some brass-hatted heads will roll here. Publicly, if you please.
Not sure I ever actually watched it, but I do remember it. And for that matter, if anyone in answer to my question had said, merely, “Clock,” no further explanation would have been needed.
@SiubhanDuinne: Just wait til someone around here needs CPR. The combined weight of all the enthusiastic responders will crush them flat.
I just found one article that mentions concerns about loyalty to Trump.
Fortunately, that generation won’t actually be in the
planedrone, and won’t need to worry much about what’s behind them (expense aside).
Super helpful context as always Adam. Thank you.
Did you read the Gellman piece in the Atlantic yet? Reminded me of you when I was going through it today. Scary.
@SiubhanDuinne: Hee! True… though in reality, it becomes easy after a few minutes. Is it more or less straight ahead? No. Is it closer to straight ahead, than to the right? Yes – 1 o’clock. Is it closer to the right, than straight ahead? 2 o’clock.
And truth be told, I’m one of those people who often has to stop and grip an imaginary pencil to remember right from left – but I wouldn’t muck up 7, 8, 9, 10, or 11.
Those ancient whoevers who thought a dozen was a *great* number were pretty bright – reminiscent of the “little 12 toes” and “my hero, zero” Schoolhouse Rock numbers. (For 12s, they pointed out that there’s no reason why we had to base numbers on 10s – combined with the 0s that pointed out the importance of place value arithmetic (that’s what we called it in Catholic School in the 70s – there may be another/better term).)