It's Probably Time to Let Biden See All of the Secret Documents or Whatever

It's Probably Time to Let Biden See All of the Secret Documents or Whatever
Photo:Chip Somodevilla (Getty Images)

For a minute there, it seemed like the presidential transition might get going, when the obscure government official whose job it is to approve the process finally did so in late November. If not then, surely all of the obstacles to Biden’s transition to the White House had been removed once the Electoral College voted to affirm the election results earlier this month…right?

Not so, according to the president-elect. Biden said he and his team are still being blocked from receiving information that is crucial to the transfer of power, namely by officials in the Department of Defense and the Office of Management and Budget.

“Right now, we just aren’t getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas,” Biden said in a speech he posted to Twitter on Monday. “It is nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility.”

Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller disputed this version of events, maintaining that that Pentagon officials had been demonstrating “the utmost professionalism” in full support of all transition activities. “The Department of Defense has conducted 164 interviews with over 400 officials and provided over 5,000 pages of documents —far more than initially requested by Biden’s transition team,” Miller said in a statement.

But what Biden describes sounds all too familiar. Following the 2020 election, the transition process has been stymied for weeks by Trump’s unsuccessful attempts to overturn the results and by the lawmakers and agency heads who feared acknowledging Biden as the winner.

As Biden rightfully pointed out on Monday, it would be helpful for him to understand exactly what’s going on at each government agency, especially since many of them have “incurred enormous damage” under Trump. I have little faith that Biden will be the one to repair this damage—since doing so would require (in my view) implementing an entirely new government. But I think it’s probably time to let Biden get all of the secret documents or whatever.

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