The Pentagon blocked members of President Joe Biden’s incoming administration from gaining access to critical information about current operations, including the troop drawdown in Afghanistan, upcoming special operations missions in Africa and the Covid-19 vaccine distribution program, according to new details provided by transition and defense officials.
The effort to obstruct the Biden team, led by senior White House appointees at the Pentagon, is unprecedented in modern presidential transitions and will hobble the new administration on key national security matters as it takes over positions in the Defense Department on Wednesday, the officials said…
But people with the transition said the outgoing team’s conduct went far beyond the norm and pointed to loyalists installed by the White House as the main reason for the obstruction. Pentagon officials under President Donald Trump refused to provide information about current operations, particularly in the special operations realm, because they are “predecisional.” That means the Biden team now has limited visibility into key operational issues, including what counterterrorism missions are in the works.
In one incident, the Pentagon abruptly canceled the transition team’s meeting with Gen. Scott Miller, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, which had been scheduled for just before Christmas. At the time, the acting defense secretary said both teams had agreed to reschedule all non-Covid related meetings until after the new year, but Biden officials publicly denied that claim.