The Trump administration blocked the Biden transition intelligence team from meeting with their counterparts at the US Defense Department this week, a former senior intelligence official reportedly told CNN on Friday.
According to CNN, the Biden team has been prevented from meeting Pentagon officials, even though the projected president-elect's meetings with other agencies have been smooth so far. The DOD reportedly denied that it engaged in efforts to obstruct the Biden transition team.
An unnamed defence source told CNN that briefings for transition military officials were held on Friday, with the agenda including senior-level policy and international security issues, but not intelligence.
"The DOD Agency Review Team has not been denied any access," Defense Department spokesperson Sue Gough said in a statement, cited by CNN. "We continue to work with the DOD ART to schedule all requested interviews, briefings and updates."
According to the report, the Biden team "made direct coordination with DOD intelligence agencies for interviews, briefings and site visits", but the Pentagon then asked them to contact Kash Patel, a DOD transition team leader.
"In case that isn't clear, ...the schedule change/delay happened because the (Biden team) didn't reach out to DOD before scheduling a meeting with DOD agencies, PER THE GUIDANCE and MOU. They weren't denied, they just had to follow the proper procedure", the official explained.
Earlier, The Washington Post reported that the DOD rejected requests from the Biden transition team, preventing him from getting in touch with leaders at the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency and other "military-run spy services".
The Biden team reportedly has trouble accessing intelligence briefings, even though the General Services Administration approved the launch of the formal transition of power in late November, in spite of Trump's continuing refusal to accept media projections on the Democrat's victory in the presidential election.
Biden has recently asserted that if Trump attended "his inauguration", it would "demonstrate the end of this chaos that he's created" and mark a peaceful transition.
Biden will be inaugurated only if the 14 December Electoral College vote confirms the media projections of his victory.