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Biden: Trump aides, Pentagon setting 'roadblocks' for transition, posing risks

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks at the Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware, on December 28, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

US President-elect Joe Biden has said Donald Trump's aides at the Pentagon and elsewhere were stalling on the transition, warning that they are setting “roadblocks” and posing risk to US security.

“We’ve encountered roadblocks from the political leadership at the Department of Defense and the Office of Management and Budget,” Biden said after a meeting with his foreign policy team.

Biden said the lack of information being provided to his transition team by the outgoing administration was an “irresponsibility.”

"Right now, we just aren't getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security area(s)," Biden said after the briefing.

"It is nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility."

Biden said he was seeking a "clear picture" from the outgoing administration on the force posture of US troops around the world.

"We need full visibility into the budget planning underway at the Defense Department and other agencies in order to avoid any window of confusion or catch-up that our adversaries may try to exploit," the US President-elect noted.

Biden also expressed serious concerns over “enormous damage” inflicted to many of America’s security agencies, which had been “hollowed out” under President Trump.

“And the truth is that many of the agencies that are crucial to our security have incurred enormous damage. Many of them have been hollowed out – in personnel, capacity and in morale,” he said. “There’s policy processes that have atrophied or have been sidelined to the despair of our alliances.”

Trump lost the November election to Biden, but has refused to concede, and made claims of widespread vote fraud.

The president fired Pentagon chief Mark Esper after the election as he distanced himself from the president's use of force against unarmed anti-racism demonstrators earlier this year.

Trump's new acting Pentagon chief Christopher Miller has said that the outgoing administration had agreed with Biden's aides to pause briefings for the holiday season, an assertion that the incoming team called untrue.

Miller claimed on Monday that the Pentagon's coordination efforts with the transition team "already surpass those of recent administrations with over three weeks to go."

Earlier this month, Biden’s team said they had met resistance to requests for information from some Pentagon officials.

Biden said his team, while securing cooperation from some federal agencies, had “encountered obstruction from the political leadership” at the Pentagon.

 


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