Washington, D.C. – The former top lawyer for the D.C. National Guard, Colonel Earl Matthews, has accused Army officials of retaliation for uncovering the involvement of pro-Trump generals in the stand down of National Guard troops during the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Matthews made these accusations in an interview published in the New York Times on January 3. The colonel filed a 37-page whistleblower reprisal complaint with the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General on October 20, 2023, which was publicly released last week.
In the complaint, Matthews alleges that management officials associated with the US Army War College in Pennsylvania retaliated against him after he disputed false congressional testimony by Lieutenant General Walter E. Piatt and General Charles A. Flynn in June 2021. These officials refused to consider Matthews for promotion despite positive recommendations and conducted a baseless investigation against him that resulted in his removal from the Army War College.
Matthews’ lawyers describe the actions taken against him as textbook whistleblower retaliation. The complaint accuses the management officials, both civilian and military, of falsely accusing Matthews of misconduct and unprofessional behavior, and refusing to consider him for qualified duty assignments or promotions.
The incident that sparked the retaliation occurred on February 4, 2023, during a Senior Leader Development Seminar (SLDS) for Army generals at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Virginia. Matthews was informed by Colonel Cary Metz that he had been accused of assaulting or threatening an Army Reserve general officer. Shortly after being notified of the complaint, hotel security and military police escorted Matthews out of the building.
An investigation into Matthews’ dismissal and removal from the course cleared him of any wrongdoing. However, Daniel Pinnell, the director of the SLDS, supported the allegations made against Matthews based on his “unprofessional actions” and criticism of senior Army leaders following the January 6 insurrection.
Matthews, who served as the executive officer for then-D.C. National Guard Commander Major General William Walker on January 6, 2021, has spoken out against Generals Piatt and Flynn for their misleading testimony regarding the National Guard’s response during the Capitol attack. He called their statements “inaccurate and untruthful” and accused them of lying to the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General.
Despite the testimony of Matthews and other police chiefs and National Guard officers, the House January 6 Select Committee did not hold a public hearing on the Pentagon’s delayed response, which resulted in the Capitol being overrun by Trump supporters. The committee’s report, over 800 pages long, absolved the Republican Party and elements within the judiciary and police-military-intelligence apparatus of supporting the coup attempt.
Colonel Matthews’ victimization for speaking out against the generals who assisted in Trump’s attempted coup highlights the enduring support for the former president within the U.S. military, even months before the 2024 presidential election.
Earl Matthews remains in the U.S. Army Reserve and holds a position as general counsel, corporate secretary, and chief administrative officer for defense contractor Albers Aerospace.