Trump administration “blocked Biden’s transition team from meeting with senior Pentagon officials”

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The Trump administration has not allowed President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team to meet with senior intelligence officials at the Pentagon, it has been reported.

The move comes after President Donald Trump last month purged senior civilian officials from the Defense Department and installed several loyalists in key positions that effectively blocked the transition to a new Biden administration.

Pentagon officials have denied that there is an active effort to block Biden’s transition. Biden’s transition team declined to comment.

Current and former U.S. government officials have told the Washington Post that members of the Biden transition do not have access to senior executives from major Pentagon-run intelligence agencies.

Président Donald Trump

Président Donald Trump

President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team denied access to top Pentagon spy agency officials following the purge of the Defense Department’s civilian leadership and the installation of President Donald Trump’s loyalists (right), according to a report.

Pentagon officials have denied that there is an active effort to block Biden's transition.  Biden's transition team declined to comment

Pentagon officials have denied that there is an active effort to block Biden's transition.  Biden's transition team declined to comment

Pentagon officials have denied that there is an active effort to block Biden’s transition. Biden’s transition team declined to comment

Spy weapons such as the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, and intelligence elements of branches of the military fall under the auspices of the Pentagon.

Biden’s team has not been able to engage with any of the key figures in these branches, according to the Washington Post.

Officials told the Post that delays in granting Biden’s team access to information could prevent them from learning about espionage operations against American adversaries like Russia, China, Iran and others.

Most concerning was the Trump administration’s refusal to grant Biden’s transition officials access to the NSA, America’s largest intelligence apparatus known for its sophisticated eavesdropping and surveillance capabilities.

Kesh Patel, a Trump loyalist installed as Pentagon chief of staff last month, is tasked with overseeing the transition

Kesh Patel, a Trump loyalist installed as Pentagon chief of staff last month, is tasked with overseeing the transition

Kesh Patel, a Trump loyalist installed as Pentagon chief of staff last month, is tasked with overseeing the transition

According to the Post, Biden’s transition officials were told they were to submit a list of names to Pentagon officials indicating who would participate in the visits and what topics would be discussed.

Pentagon officials had also asked the transition how much time would be allotted for each meeting.

The information should then be reviewed and approved by the Department of Defense attorney general and Kash Patel, a Trump loyalist who was in charge of the agency’s transition last month, according to CNN.

Patel was appointed Pentagon chief of staff, replacing Jen Stewart, who resigned after the president sacked Defense Secretary Mark Esper in the days following the election.

“If they were in a cooperative mood, none of this would happen,” a source told The Post.

The Central Intelligence Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence are civilian departments that report to the federal government.

Advisors to the president-elect were able to meet this week with senior officials from independent Pentagon civilian spy agencies.

A Pentagon spokesperson told The Hill on Friday that after the Post’s report, meetings between Biden’s transition and Department of Defense spy agencies were tentatively scheduled for early next week.

Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough said the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security and the Pentagon Agency’s director of transition are finalizing the coordination of the department’s spy agencies. , “Including the necessary approval process for DOD intelligence agencies.” by the statute and memorandum of understanding of the White House / Biden-Harris Transition Team.

“The DOD agency review team were not denied any access,” Gough added.

“We continue to work with DOD ART to schedule all requested interviews, briefings and updates.

A defense official blamed Biden’s transition team for the delays, saying they did not follow the proper procedure.

The transition Biden “has been coordinating directly with DOD intelligence agencies for interviews, briefings and site visits,” the official said.

Days after the election, President Trump sacked Defense Secretary Mark Esper (right)

Days after the election, President Trump sacked Defense Secretary Mark Esper (right)

Days after the election, President Trump sacked Defense Secretary Mark Esper (right)

Esper has been replaced by Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller

Esper has been replaced by Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller

Esper has been replaced by Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller

IN: Anthony J. Tata, who was unable to get confirmation through the Republican-controlled Senate, will serve as Deputy Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy

IN: Anthony J. Tata, who was unable to get confirmation through the Republican-controlled Senate, will serve as Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy

Ezra Cohen, former assistant to national security adviser Mike Flynn, takes charge of top intelligence post

Ezra Cohen, former assistant to national security adviser Mike Flynn, takes over as top intelligence post

Anthony J. Tata (left), who was unable to secure confirmation through the Republican-controlled Senate, will serve as Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Ezra Cohen-Watnick (right), another Trump loyalist, has been installed as acting undersecretary for intelligence

Instead, the Pentagon has asked Biden transition officials to contact Patel for all interview and site visit requests “in accordance with statute, GSA guidelines” and a memorandum of understanding between the White House and the President-elect.

GSA stands for General Services Administration, the federal agency that officially allowed the transition to the new Biden administration to begin on November 23 when it saw Joe Biden won the election.

“In case it is not clear,” the defense official said, “the schedule change / delay occurred because (Team Biden) did not contact the DOD before planning a meeting with DOD agencies, BY THE GUIDANCE and MOU.

“They weren’t turned down, they just had to go through the proper process.

Days after the election, Trump sacked Esper and several other senior civilian staff deemed insufficiently loyal to the president. Esper has been replaced by Christopher Miller, who is acting Secretary of Defense.

The president proceeded to install several assistants to high-level positions at the Pentagon, including Patel and Anthony Tata, a former Fox News commentator who was unable to obtain Senate confirmation or go through the Services Commission armed Senate following disclosures of explosive and racist comments about his past.

Ezra Cohen-Watnick, former assistant to fired national security adviser Mike Flynn, has been appointed acting deputy secretary of intelligence.

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