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Pentagon did not deny Biden’s team access to military intelligence agencies, officials say

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On Saturday, the Defense Department pushed back on media reports that it refused invitations to meetings with DoD intelligence agencies to members of President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team.

Numerous outlets claimed on Dec. 4 that requests from Biden’s DoD Agency Review Team were denied or not accepted by the DoD, attributing their information to unnamed sources.

“The DoD and its transition leadership are working fully with the transition team at Biden, putting national security and the protection of the American people at the forefront of any and all discussions.”

The defense officials said that ART, the Biden Intelligence Group, had reached out directly for meetings with DoD intelligence agencies when under the terms of the White House agreement with the Biden transition team, those requests were to go through the transition team of the DoD, headed by Tom Muir, Director of Washington Headquarters Services.

According to officials, members of the Biden DoD ART are expected to meet on Monday and Tuesday next week with members of the DoD intelligence community, including the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency.

“The allegation by anonymous sources that the DoD has not fulfilled its commitment to professionally assist any of the Agency Review Teams is clearly false and patently insulting,” said the DoD’s official statement.

According to officials, the Biden DoD ART has already completed 21 meetings with key figures, has received over 1,500 pages of transition-related papers, and is scheduled to complete 47 more in the coming week.

Senior defense officials did not believe that the virtual format in any way limited the exchange of information, stressing how important a smooth transition is for both the DoD and the future administration of Biden.

Although some procedures were modified due to the pandemic, officials said that the DoD operated completely in compliance with the transition team agreements between the White House and Biden, presidential transition rules, and DoD policies.

The DoD ART has given a list of interviewees, interviewers and subjects to be discussed, and the ART Intelligence Community has now also asked the Transition Director of the DOD Agency for interview requests.

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About Kirigaya Kazuto

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Kazuto Kirigaya, born as Kazuto Narusaka, is a fictional character and the protagonist of the Sword Art Online series of light novels written by Reki Kawahara.

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