President-elect Biden’s transition team on Friday disputed that it had agreed to pause meetings with Pentagon officials for two weeks, calling on briefings to resume immediately.
Earlier in the day, Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller said in a statement the department and the transition team had a “mutually-agreed upon holiday pause,” which was in response to a report from Axios that Miller had directed briefings to stop until the new year.
“We have met isolated resistance from some corners including from political appointees within the Department of Defense. We were concerned to learn this week about an abrupt halt in the already limited cooperation there. And, as indicated by DoD earlier today, we expect that decision will be reversed. An orderly, cooperative transition is especially imperative in the national security and foreign policy realm due to classified and otherwise non-public information needed to do the job,” Yohannes Abraham, a spokesman for the Biden transition team, said during a press briefing.
A Pentagon spokesperson said only Friday’s meetings were rescheduled, with those briefings pushed to after the disputed holiday break.
“The Department of Defense will continue to provide all required support to the Agency Review Team (ART) to keep our nation and her citizens safe. As of today, we have supported 139 interviews sessions with more than 200 DoD personnel, 161 requests for information, and disclosed thousands of pages of non-public and classified documents, exceeding prior transitions. At no time has the Department cancelled or declined any interview,” Miller said in his statement.