President-elect Joe Biden has tapped a vast network of allies with extensive government experience and relationships to spearhead a transition of power carefully calibrated to work around the Trump administration’s unprecedented efforts to obstruct a smooth changeover.

With the Trump White House blocking the administration from formally cooperating with Biden, the members of the Democrat’s transition team are under strict orders not to have any contact with current government officials, even back-channel conversations, according to people with knowledge of the situation, who presented several explanations for the directive.

Biden transition team members are instead making contact with recently departed government officials and other experts to help them prepare for the new administration. And they are relying on a team led by a former senior State Department official to handle an influx of calls from foreign leaders — all without the benefit of a secure government line or language interpretation services provided by the current State Department…

“The problems become much more severe the longer this goes,” said Max Stier, the president of the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service, which assists on presidential transitions, including the current one. “Our government is the biggest and most complex organization not only in this country, but probably in the world and probably in history. So, taking it over effectively is a huge task.”