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After the National Security Association hacks earlier this month, something seems amiss at the Pentagon. When Acting Department of Defense Secretary Chris Miller ordered a Pentagon-wide ban against cooperating with President-Elect Joe Biden’s transition team on Dec. 18, 2020, questions and red flags arose.
Miller’s announcement shocked officials throughout the Defense Department, reports Axios. On December 17, the transition team members were notified about the meeting cancellations, added Abraham.
Supposedly, there was a “mutually agreed-upon holiday pause,” states a senior DoD official. On the other hand, Biden Transition Executive Director Yohannes Abraham emphatically disagrees, saying there is no agreement about taking a holiday break.
President Trump’s Involvement
In an interesting but significant coincidence, Miller made his announcement one day after a story broke in the Washington Post after U.S. Army Corps commanders met with the Biden team. During that meeting, the cost of Donald Trump’s border wall was discussed. The Army Corps estimates the government would save $2.6 billion if Biden ordered the project to demobilize the border wall project.
The president and Miller likely held a powwow after the Post’s story dropped. The border wall is Trump’s “signature legislation” — one he believes will be part of his presidential legacy. Another possible scenario is the decision to disrupt the president-elect’s transition is a byproduct of Trump’s election fraud delusion. Either of these would have prompted the abrupt dismissal of the Biden transition team.
Acting Secretary of Defense Miller Responds
Miller explained the reasoning for his Pentagon-wide ban of the Biden transition team. He swears that the DoD has not canceled or declined any interviews with the transition team.
The acting secretary claims the DoD will continue to provide the Biden transition team’s required support to keep the nation and its citizens safe. He asserts that so far, the department has facilitated 139 interview sessions involving over 200 personnel. Moreover, they have responded to 161 information requests “and disclosed thousands of pages of non-public and classified documents.” He claims these numbers exceed prior transitions without offering clarification.
Miller seems to be saying they have gone above and beyond expectations, but who set those? The president has yet to acknowledge the hacks, which have been attributed to Russian actors. With these threats against the county’s National Security Agency, how does one limit an incoming president and his team’s information?
Once again saying there is an agreed-upon holiday pause, Miller states the DoD’s focus during this time is dedicated to Operation Warp Speed and COVID-19 information.
He adamantly states he is “committed to a full and transparent transition — this is what our nation expects and the DoD will deliver AS IT ALWAYS HAS.”
Supposedly, the Biden transition team will be allowed to resume meeting with Pentagon personnel after the first of the year. Hopefully, the delay will not result in the new administration’s inability to keep Americans safe.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
New Civil Rights Movement: Career Military Officials ‘Stunned’ as Trump’s Pentagon Chief Bans Biden Transition Team: Report; by David Badash
The Hill: Biden team expresses concern over ‘abrupt halt’ in cooperation with Pentagon; by Rebecca Kheel
AXIOS: Scoop: Pentagon halts Biden transition briefings; by Mike Allen and Jonathan Swan
The Washington Post: Biden order to halt border wall project would save U.S. $2.6 billion, Pentagon estimates show; Josh Dawsey and Nick Miroff
Featured and Top Image by U.S. Navy Petty Officer Aramis X. Ramirez Courtesy of ResoluteSupportMedia’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
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