Buttigieg: Denying Biden intelligence briefings is about protecting Trump's 'ego'

Buttigieg: Denying Biden intelligence briefings is about protecting Trump's 'ego'
© Greg Nash

Former Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegButtigieg: Bipartisan deal on infrastructure 'strongly preferred' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican | Colonial Pipeline CEO grilled over ransomware attack | Texas gov signs bills to improve power grid after winter storm Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican MORE called on the federal government to grant President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenPutin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting How the infrastructure bill can help close the digital divide Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president MORE access to intelligence briefings, arguing the current delay is about protecting President Trump's "ego."

"This just seems to be an exercise in trying to somehow protect the outgoing president's ego and that's not worth undermining national security," Buttigieg told MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle.

The former South Bend, Ind., mayor and former Navy officer said it was a "huge concern" that Biden was not receiving classified intelligence briefings roughly two months out from Inauguration Day, noting there are likely some intelligence briefings Biden "needs some advanced planning on" before entering office.


"Because you need to be able to prepare for the threat streams that the country faces," Buttigieg said. "The intelligence community and the military, with no regard for politics, is out there doing the work of making sure day-by-day that the president is briefed on everything we're going to face."

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has not interacted with the Biden campaign yet because the General Services Administration (GSA) has not certified Biden as the winner of the election, despite him maintaining leads in multiple swing states. News outlets projected him as the winner Nov. 7.


Biden earlier this week called on the GSA to recognize him as president-elect, a move that would open up critical transition resources. The former vice president said the GSA should not have to wait until states or Congress certify the election results before resources are allowed to be used.

“One of the problems we’re having now is the failure of the administration to recognize,” Biden said. “The law says that the General Services Administration has a person who recognizes who the winner is, and then they have access to all the data and information the government possesses to be prepared. It doesn’t require there to be an absolute winner. It says the apparent winner.”

Democrats and a growing number of Republicans have said Biden should receive intelligence briefings, even as the Trump campaign carries on its legal challenges in several states.

Biden has already been congratulated by a number of U.S. allies and has held phone calls with several world leaders, including the heads of Israel, India, France, Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom, among others.

"Each passing day that the [government] holds this [transition] up is a day when lives and livelihoods are at risk," Buttigieg said.

He later reiterated his argument about granting access to briefings, tweeting, "Protecting the outgoing president's ego is not worth undermining national security."