Ex-Pentagon Chief Defends Response to Capitol Riot, Feared Appearance of 'Coup' (Getty)
David Shepardson and Jan Wolfe Tuesday, 11 May 2021 05:55 PM
The man who led the Pentagon during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is expected to defend his decisions at a congressional hearing on Wednesday, saying that sending in troops would have created the appearance of a "military coup."
Former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller plans to say that the military was deliberately restrained on the day of Trump's Jan. 6 rally, after which hundreds of his followers breached the landmark building in an event that left five dead, including a police officer, according to a copy of his prepared remarks seen by Reuters.
"I am keenly aware of the criticism regarding the Department of Defense's response," Miller is expected to testify. "My concerns regarding the appropriate and limited use of the military in domestic matters were heightened by commentary in the media about the possibility of a military coup or that advisors to the President were advocating the declaration of martial law."
Miller will testify on Wednesday at a hearing held by the House of Representatives Oversight Committee on unanswered questions from the attack.
National Guard troops did not arrive at the Capitol until around 5:20 p.m. on Jan. 6, more than four hours after the grounds were first breached. U.S. lawmakers have held a series of hearings on the federal government's preparations for and response to the attack, leading to finger-pointing between city officials, federal law enforcement agencies, and military leaders.
Major General William Walker, the District of Columbia’s National Guard commander, testified before a Senate panel in March that Pentagon officials took more than three hours to approve a request for National Guard troops to back up police.
Miller is expected to testify that the Pentagon's response was "rapid" in comparison to other military deployments in urban areas.
"This isn’t a video game where you can move forces with a flick of the thumb," Miller is expected to testify.