Washington, November 14
US President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team has said that they are not getting access to real-time threat assessment and intelligence reports by the outgoing Trump administration.
According to media projections, Democrat Biden has won the November 3 presidential election. However, Trump, the Republican incumbent, has alleged election fraud and mounted legal fights in a number of battleground states.
“I would say intelligence briefings and access to real-time threat assessments — real-time information about air engagements around the world and the threats that we were facing — I think the fact that the incoming president and his income National Security Team don’t have access to that, it shouldn’t surprise anyone,” Jen Psaki, an adviser to the transition team told reporters during a conference call on Friday.
Responding to a question on the 9/11 Commission report, Psaki said: “Oh! I’m sure many Republicans in the Senate have seen and read that with interest, but hopefully we’ll hear more and see more coming out in the coming days.”
The 9/11 Commission report said one among many reasons why officials were ill-prepared for the terrorist attack in September 2002 was due to a delayed presidential transition in 2000.
Psaki said the transition team was not interested in having a “food fight” with the General Services Administration or any other department.
“We just want to get access to intelligence information, to threat assessments, to the ongoing work on COVID-19 so that we can prepare to govern, bring the American people together, and get the pandemic under control,” she said.
“It has been six days but with every day that passes, it becomes more concerning that our National Security Team and the President-elect and the Vice President-elect don’t have access to those threat assessments, intelligence briefings, real-time information about our engagements around the world because, you know, you don’t know what you don’t know, and in order to prepare to govern it is important that they have access to that information,” she said.
Another transition adviser Yohannes Abraham said President-elect Biden had a wealth of experience spanning decades in matters of national security and foreign policy and he had surrounded himself with a team that was similarly seasoned and experienced.
“But, exactly, each passing day, lack of access to current classified operations or back channel conversations that are happening really put the American people’s interest, as it relates to their national security, at risk,” he said.
Lack of co-operation with the transition team, Psaki said, should concern everybody because there shouldn’t be a politicisation of the Military.
President-elect Biden had a wealth of not just experience but contacts, people he’s worked with in the past, people who he could engage with to get briefings, have discussions with in the national security field, and he would certainly be doing that, she asserted.
“And while our agency review team can’t be engaging directly with the agency, many of them have served relatively recently and also have an understanding of what the needs are and how we can work together to address the threats to the degree,” Psaki said. PTI