Joe Biden has accused President Trump’s officials at both the Department of Defense and the Office of Management and Budget of “obstruction” and refusing to provide key security briefing to his transition team.
Biden made the remarks after a briefing from his national security advisers in Delaware on Monday.
“We have encountered roadblocks from the political leadership at the Department of Defense and the Office of Management and Budget” Biden said, adding “Right now, we just aren’t getting all the information we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas. It’s nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility.”
Business Insider reports: The Pentagon and Office of Management and Budget did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider.
“My team needs a clear picture of our force posture around the world and our operations to deter our enemies,” Biden said. “We need full visibility into the budget planning under way at the defense department and other agencies in order to avoid any window of confusion or catchup that our adversaries may exploit.”
After briefing from his national security team & transition advisers, Biden says there has been "obstruction" from political officials at DOD impacting their transition planning
— Mike Memoli (@mikememoli) December 28, 2020
This comes after Biden said last week that the Pentagon has refused to brief his national security team on several key issues, including the massive suspected Russian cyberattack on the US government this year. And Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller ordered his department to cancel meetings with the Biden transition team, Axios reported earlier this month.
In response to the discovery of the SolarWinds hack, Trump claimed last week that “everything is well under control” and that the “Fake News Media” was falsely blaming Russia for the attack. But Biden said last week that the administration hadn’t shared important information about the attack with his team, and his transition team says the obstruction is ongoing.
“The Department of Defense has continued to deny and delay meetings with our Agency Review Team members. There has been no substantial progress since transition officials spoke to the intransigence of the Department’s political leadership earlier this month,” a Biden transition official told Insider on Monday after the president-elect’s remarks.
“As the President-elect alluded to, no Department is more pivotal to our national security than the Department of Defense, and an unwillingness to work together could have consequences well beyond January 20,” the official added.
The Defense Department has pushed back on the claim that officials are creating roadblocks for Biden and his team as the president-elect has repeatedly expressed concern that he’s not receiving comprehensive information on national security in recent days.
Biden argued on Monday that many federal agencies have been “hollowed out” under Trump, apparently referring to the administration’s failure to fill a broad swath of positions across the government.
“The truth is, many of the agencies that are critical to our security have incurred enormous damage,” Biden said. “Many of them have been hallowed out in personnel, capacity, and in morale. The policy processes have atrophied or have been sidelined.”