Biden not getting intelligence reports because Trump officials won't recognize him as president-elect

Source: NBC News | November 10, 2020 | Ken Dilanian and Mike Memoli

Biden transition officials confirmed the president-elect is not receiving the President’s Daily Brief, the intel report that goes to senior U.S. officials.

WASHINGTON —The Trump administration’s unwillingness to acknowledge that former Vice President Joe Biden won the election has led to an unusual restriction on the flow of national security information to the president-elect.

In a statement to NBC News, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said it will not interface with the Biden transition until the General Services Administration decides it’s clear who won, a process known as “ascertainment.”

“ODNI follows the statutory direction provided in the Presidential Transition Act, which requires ascertainment of the candidate by the administrator of GSA prior to supporting a potential presidential transition,” the statement said. “ODNI would not have contact with any transition team until notified by the GSA administrator.”

More than three days after media outlets projected that Biden had defeated President Donald Trump to win the White House, GSA chief Emily Murphy had yet to sign the letter of “ascertainment” — a previously mostly noncontroversial process since the passage of the transition act nearly 60 years ago.

Separately, the president-elect is not receiving the President’s Daily Brief, the compendium of high-level intelligence reporting that goes to the most senior officials in the government. President Donald Trump could authorize that with a word, but he has not done so.


David Priess, a former CIA officer who is an expert in presidential intelligence briefings, said that normally, the winning candidate would get a high level briefing immediately after the election.

The only time that didn’t happen was the 2000 Gore-Bush contest, when recounts in Florida meant the winner wasn’t decided until Dec. 13, said Priess, author of the 2016 book “The President’s Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America’s Presidents from Kennedy to Obama.”

Vice President Al Gore was already getting the briefings, but the Clinton administration decided to give them to George W. Bush in early December, even before the election was decided, Priess said.


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