Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller recently announced a Pentagon-wide suspension of meetings with Joe Biden’s team, causing surprise among Defense Department officials, senior Trump administration officials told Axios.
Miller, who was appointed by the Trump administration on Nov. 9 to replace Mark Esper, issued the order throughout the complex to cancel meetings scheduled for Thursday nigh, Dec. 17.
While the reason for the order is unknown at this time, a senior Defense Department official said it is “simply a delay of the last meetings scheduled until after the new year.”
“We had fewer than two dozen remaining meetings on the schedule today and next week … the DOD staff working the meetings were overwhelmed by the number of meetings,” Miller said.
“These same senior leaders needed to do their day jobs and were being consumed by transition activities,” he added, assuring that it was a vacation break.
The order comes after intelligence agencies missed a deadline to provide Congress with a classified report on foreign interference in the 2020 elections. Several agencies have not finished coordinating the product,” Amanda Schoch, assistant director of national intelligence (DNI), announced Wednesday.
President Donald Trump, declared a national emergency in 2018 through the Executive Order on Imposing Certain Sanctions in the Event of Foreign Interference in a United States Election, therefore requiring National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe, to submit the report to the president, the attorney general, and others designated in the order by Dec. 18, 2020.
Miller’s order also comes after the intelligence community activated an emergency response to a massive cyberattack that ultimately affected several federal agencies, including Defense, State, Treasury, Homeland Security, and Commerce, as well as the Department of Energy’s National Security Administration, responsible for the nation’s nuclear arsenal, according to The Independent.
Meanwhile, while it is not known whether President Trump had any involvement in the passage of the Miller order, senior advisers began publicly supporting the decision on Friday.
Steve Cortes, President Trump’s campaign adviser, said on Friday on his Twitter account that Biden, “could not get even a low-level security clearance at this point. He’s compromised by the Chinese Communist Party.”
Good! Joe Biden could not get even a low-level security clearance right now. He’s compromised by the Chinese Communist Party.
Axios: Acting Pentagon chief halts Biden transition briefings. https://t.co/Kni463LRpt
— Steve Cortes (@CortesSteve) December 18, 2020