Trump’s loyal Kash Patel prevented some Pentagon officials from helping Biden’s transition

Washington – Trump, recently appointed Chief of Staff of the Pentagon, faithfully monitors Biden’s transition team’s access to Pentagon officials and even prevents some career officials and experts from providing information on key defense issues to the transition team and calls on political appointees to take instead, say two current and two former U.S. officials.

In some cases, Chief of Staff Kash Patel, who was appointed to the Pentagon after last month’s election, contained revised policy descriptions that contained content that favorably reflected Trump’s policy before sharing information with the Biden shift. said.

“He told everyone we weren’t going to work with the transition team,” said one of Patel’s former officials, who “imposed many restrictions on him.”

Kashyap “Kash” Pramod Patel at the White House on October 27, 2019.Alex Wong / Getty Images

At the beginning of the process, Patel made it clear that senior political officials attend meetings and briefings of the transition group that address significant policy issues, officials said, which has a cool effect on the information shared with the Biden team.

While the Biden team entrusts routine questions and requests for information to Pentagon policy experts, the two current and one former official say they pursue some significant or time-sensitive policies, such as those involving Iran, Afghanistan and North Korea. treated by political appointees, some of whom Trump recently installed or did not respond at all.

Historically, career civilians and military officials have produced many background documents and information during a transition, according to officials involved in past transitions.

Most of the requests for information come from Biden’s transition team to Tom Muir, director of Washington’s Central Service and director of civilian transition, a current official said. Muir then informs Patel, who is considering the interview requests and which staff will handle the information requests.

Some information documents went through Patel before they went to the transition team, and current and former officials said some information was spun politically and in other cases completely withheld.

“It’s more politicized than previous transitions,” an official said. “Patel controls the flow of information.”

In some cases, the two current officials said career officials were completely excluded from the process, with political appointees taking the lead rather than experts on the subject.

Pentagon officials provided the Biden Agency Review Team (ART) with some briefing documents, according to a senior security officer and one former security officer. Transitional troops have been given binders in recent years, but this year the Pentagon provided information about the iPads, officials said.

Trump are loyal

Last week, a senior defense official said Patel was leading the Pentagon’s transition efforts, barely two weeks after Patel arrived at the Pentagon after he was appointed Chief of Staff to Chief Secretary of Defense Chris Miller.

Three other Trump loyalists have also taken over the Pentagon’s huge positions since the Nov. 3 election, including the retired Army Brigade. General Anthony Tata, who now serves as Political Defense Under-Secretary; Ezra Cohen-Watnick, currently Acting Under-Secretary for Intelligence and Security; and retired Colonel Doug Macgregor of the Army, now Senior Adviser to Acting Secretary Miller.

Members of the review team were asked to speak to various political appointees, career civilians and military officials, a defense official said.

Two current U.S. officials said Patel commissioned Patel or Muir, who was also a political appointee, to approve the transitional group’s requests to talk to career civilians or military officials. So far, most requests have been accepted, but officials say they have not responded to all requests.

A Pentagon spokesman did not respond to the request for an opinion.

Biden’s transitional team declined to comment.

Patel, who was appointed Chief of Staff of the Pentagon on November 10, previously worked in the Trump administration of the National Security Council. He also worked as an assistant to Representative Devin Nunes (California), who worked on a controversial investigation of the House over Russian intervention in the 2016 election.