The Trump administration blocked President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team from meeting with its counterparts at Pentagon intelligence agencies this week, CNN reports, citing a former senior intelligence official familiar with the matter.
The development comes even as the General Services Administration gave a green light on November 23 for officials at federal agencies across the government to meet with the President-elect’s Agency Review Teams — essential to ensuring a smooth transfer of power.
The Washington Post first reported on the Biden team’s problems with the Defense Department transition office, which is led by a Trump loyalist connected to efforts to spread conspiracy theories about the President-elect.
The delay means the Biden team has not yet been able to meet with officials from the military intelligence agencies within the Defense Department — including the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency — even as all other meetings by Biden review teams appear to be happening smoothly now after weeks of delay.
Last week, arrangements were made for Biden’s Agency Review Team to meet with the various defense intelligence agencies this week, the former intelligence official said.
But early in the week, word came from the Pentagon that the Biden team would have no engagement with defense intelligence agencies until it had submitted questions in advance and listed the names of the people with whom it wanted to interact.
At that point, the Biden team’s requests would be reviewed by the Defense Department’s general counsel and Kash Patel, the Trump loyalist appointed to lead the Pentagon’s transition last month amid President Donald Trump’s purge of civilian leadership at the department.
“That’s a big FU from Defense to the incoming intelligence community transition team,” the former official said.
The Pentagon denies any effort to stymie the President-elect’s team. A senior defense official told CNN that briefings had taken place on Friday for transition officials on military matters, including senior-level policy and international security issues, but not on intelligence.