Reports that Pentagon puts a sudden stop to Biden transition briefings refuted by Acting Defense Secretary

It was reported that the Pentagon was told by to stop giving briefings to the transition team. That claim was refuted by Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller.


It was reported on Friday that the Pentagon was told by to stop giving briefings to the transition team that will see President-elect Joe Biden into office. That claim was refuted by Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller.

A statement issued on Friday from the Miller's office repudiated this claim, however, saying:

"The Department of Defense will continue to provide all required support to the Agency Review Team (ART) to keep our nation and her citizens safe. As of today, we have supported 139 interviews sessions more than 200 DoD personnel, 161 requests for information, and disclosed thousands of pages of non-public and classified documents, exceeding prior transitions.  At no time has the Department  cancelled or declined any interview.

Our key focus in the next two weeks is supporting essential requests for information on OWS and COVID-19 information to guarantee a flawless transition. This is my major focus area.

After the mutually-agreed upon holiday pause, which begins tomorrow, we will continue with the transition and rescheduled meetings from today.

Again, I remain committed to a full and transparent transition – this is what our nation expects and the DoD will deliver AS IT ALWAYS HAS."

The Axios story was then disputed on Twitter by Rick Grenell, who said "This isn't true. The current Pentagon team has given more transition meetings than were given in 2016. These anonymous sources have political agendas and it's definitely not about sharing facts. This is click bait reporting."

According to Axios, who claimed to have heard this from senior administration officials, the transition briefings that they said were stopped on Thursday may be taken up again after the holidays. They were unsure, however, why the decision was made to stop the briefings.

When asked to justify his sources, Grenell said that the Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller said that the termination of briefings report was untrue. Which he did in the above statement.

Axios reported that Miller halted the briefings on Thursday night, ordering "officials throughout the building to cancel scheduled transition meetings." Miller took over for the previous Defense Secretary Mark Esper after Esper was fired by Trump, shortly after the election.

A Pentagon official who Axios identified as a senior Defense Department official, called it "a simple delay of the last few scheduled meetings until after the new year."

The official said that "We had fewer than two dozen remaining meetings on the schedule today and next week" and that "the DoD staff working the meetings were overwhelmed by the number of meetings."

"These same senior leaders needed to do their day jobs and were being consumed by transition activities," the official said. "With the holidays we are taking a knee for two weeks. We are still committed to a productive transition."

Axios reported that the stoppage of briefings was a surprise to Pentagon officials, and may be an indicator, of "animus and mistrust toward the Biden team from the top level fo the Trump administration."

But it appears to have also been a surprise to Miller, who laid out the work he and his team had done to enable and facilitate the transition to the new administration.

Miller stated that the "DoD continues to support the presidential transition aligned with the President Transition Act, White House and Biden-Harris Transition Team Memorandum of Understanding, and DoD policy.

"In 2016, a total of approximately 175 RFIs were responded to and 180 interviews were conducted from November 19th through January 12th. Most of these interviews were with junior career officials, not senior leaders. Implementing guidance from the Secretary, DoD has made available leaders at the highest levels of our organization, many senate-confirmed as well as other politically appointed leaders, and has ensured senior career officials and experts were also part of the interview process."


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