Patel, a former aide to Republican MP Devin Nunes, is currently working as Chief of Staff to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, and while it’s not uncommon for someone in that position to take the lead in the transition effort, the two defense officials told CNN that Patel it will probably be examined by many in the Pentagon who are watching how collaborative he can be with the Biden team.
This control stems from the fact that Patel has been elevated to his current role as part of the recent cleanup of senior Pentagon officials, which included the dismissal of President Donald Trump’s Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and his reputation as an enthusiastic loyal Trump who continues to do his best. to advance the President’s political agenda during his remaining term in office.
An investigation into the house’s liquidation revealed evidence linking Patel, who then worked as an assistant to Nunes, to a diplomatic back channel run by lawyer Rudy Giuliani Trump, as well as efforts to spread conspiracy theories about Joe Biden, forcing Ukraine to launch concerning the issue. former vice president.
He also worked to discredit the test of Special Adviser Robert Mueller due to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Patel, most recently the White House National Security Council’s chief counter-terrorism director, was promoted to Miller’s chief of staff following Esper’s expulsion earlier this month and has a “very close” working relationship with the newly deployed defense commissioner. an administrative official told CNN earlier.
But the move was part of the Pentagon’s personnel changes that fueled concerns that Trump worries officials across the government and wraps loyalty lists in agencies that could make it harder to remove Biden next year.
Since arriving at the Pentagon, Patel has been overseeing controversial decisions to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Expert sources told CNN’s Jake Tapper earlier this month that the White House-led cleanup at the Department of Defense may have been due to Esper and his team pushing back on the early withdrawal from Afghanistan, which is being carried out before the required requirements. the ground conditions were met.
And now that the Government Services Office has officially recognized Biden’s election victory, which has allowed the transition process to be formally launched, the question arises as to whether officials like Patel will fully cooperate with the incoming administration.
For the time being, the Department of Defense has announced that the Biden-Harris team has contacted it and will “immediately begin implementing our plan to provide support.”
“The DoD is prepared to provide post-election services and support in a professional, orderly and efficient manner that meets public expectations of the Department and our commitment to national security,” said Pentagon spokesman Sue Gough.
Thomas Muir, director of headquarters services in Washington, is providing support to the main DoD for the transition, while Patel is leading the overall efforts of another defense official.
Muir is expected to facilitate office space, communication and access to information.
A senior defense official said Patel was in charge of the efforts before overseeing the transition process for his predecessor, Esper’s chief of staff, Jen Stewart.