- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The Pentagon fired back Wednesday at President-elect Joseph R. Biden, calling his claim that the Defense Department is refusing to brief the Biden transition team on key issues a “patently false” allegation.

In a blunt statement released shortly after midnight, senior Pentagon officials said they will resume formal meetings with the Biden transition team in early January, after a holiday break agreed to by both sides.

The statement came in response to claims by the Biden team that it never agreed to a holiday break.

Mr. Biden made headlines on Tuesday by saying “the Defense Department won’t even brief us” on key issues, including a massive hack of the federal government that most security and defense officials have attributed to Russia.

The president-elect said his team isn’t getting cooperation from the Defense Department and is in the dark on the extent of damage caused by the hack, largely because of President Trump’s downplaying of the incident.

“Even if he doesn’t take it seriously, I will,” Mr. Biden said.

In claiming the Defense Department will not brief his team, Mr. Biden seemed to reference meetings between Pentagon and transition officials that were scheduled for last Friday but ultimately got postponed.

Early Wednesday morning, the Pentagon strongly disputed Mr. Biden’s version of events.

“The statement that the ‘Defense Department won’t even brief us, on many things’ is patently false,” a senior Defense Department official said in comments circulated to reporters. “Since Nov. 23, when the [General Services Administration] approved transition activities to occur, the DoD has conducted 163 interviews and 181 requests for information, which greatly exceed what the Biden-Harris team originally requested.”

“The department will continue to provide the information and meetings necessary to ensure the continuity of government,” the official said. “As we’ve said, meetings will begin again in early January, and in fact we’ve begun scheduling them.”

The rocky transition at the Pentagon comes after President Trump made a series of major personnel moves, including the firing of former Pentagon chief Mark T. Esper and installation of acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller in his place.

Mr. Miller has stressed that he is fully cooperating with Mr. Biden’s team, though top transition officials say that simply isn’t true.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide