The Pentagon, and specifically Acting Defense Secretary and Permanent Obstructionist Christopher Miller, are now saying the Biden team was never denied access to NSA and Defense intelligence agencies — they just hadn’t asked correctly.
The Pentagon on Saturday pushed back strongly against reports that the Trump administration blocked the Biden-Harris transition team from meeting with defense intelligence agencies, insisting the Department of Defense is committed to a smooth hand-off even as President Donald Trump still refuses to concede the election.
Initially, the Biden transition team had improperly reached out directly to the agencies instead of the DoD transition team, and was told that they instead needed to submit requests to the Pentagon.
“That was more of an internal issue for the Biden team than a DoD issue,” said the defense official.
The issue has been resolved and meetings are now scheduled on Monday and Tuesday with the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, according to DoD.
The Washington Post was a bit more polite in its headline than Politico:
but also a lot more openly skeptical:
“When the requests went through DOD they were granted, scheduled and are taking place next week,” one official said. “They were not denied. They were not refused. They were simply directed to follow the process that they had set up and agreed to in the first place.”That claim is at odds with accounts from other current and former U.S. officials with knowledge of the interactions between the Pentagon and members of the Biden transition.That group includes former officials who held top positions at agencies they sought to visit — among them retired U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, who previously served as director of DIA.
The Biden team, unlike Trump’s, is made up of people who know what they’re doing and who know how the system works because they’ve been involved with running it before. Trump’s people keep forgetting that. Just as they also forget that it’s the people’s government, not Trump’s private company.
I don’t know what pressure, other than public notice, was put on DOD to make them do the right thing. Biden’s team is made up of professionals who understand that letting that bunch of idiots save a little face is worth it to get the transition moving and get them out of there, so they may not tell (for a while, at least). But clearly somebody whose name is not Donald Trump got the message.
It’s more important that we find out what Miller and the other Trump Toadies™ were trying to hide from Biden. Trump doesn’t trust the intelligence agencies (or intelligent people) because they wouldn’t go along with his denial of Russian interference, but I’m convinced that he’s hiding more than that. Biden should also be getting a clearer idea of just what Trump’s trying to pull with his destructive dismantling of the controls over the Pentagon.
It may be something as simple as trying to conceal from Biden just how much of a mess Trump has made of the world and of our defenses. Trump certainly has calculated that the less Biden knows about the world’s problems before he takes office, the harder it will be for him to get a fast handle on them, and (in his little mind) the better Trump will look. But I am concerned that Trump has been trying to set up deeper sabotage of our intelligence, whether out of his own malevolence or on orders from someone.