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Pentagon: Biden transition meetings with spy agencies set for early next week

Pentagon: Biden transition meetings with spy agencies set for early next week
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Meetings between officials with President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenFear of insider attack prompts additional FBI screening of National Guard troops: AP Iran convicts American businessman on spying charge: report DC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worries MORE’s transition team and some military-run spy agencies are scheduled to take place early next week following reports that the Trump administration was barring the discussions. 

Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough told The Hill on Friday that the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence & Security and the Pentagon transition director were finalizing the coordination for Defense Department intelligence agencies.

The spokesperson initially said the visits were "tentatively scheduled for early next week,” with the Pentagon following up Saturday to say the meetings are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

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The Biden transition team declined to provide comment when asked to confirm if the meetings were scheduled. 

News of the talks comes after a report from The Washington Post that said the Trump administration was barring transition officials from meeting with intelligence agencies that fall under the Pentagon’s purview, including the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Biden advisers have already spoken with officials at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the CIA, both of which are independent of the Defense Department. 

Transition officials were unable to meet with government staffers for days after the Biden was projected to win the White House race as the General Services Administration declined to certify the election. The body finally did so on Nov. 23.

The delay sparked criticism from Democrats and a group of Republicans who accused the administration of hindering Biden’s readiness to take office.

The Pentagon has also been embroiled in turmoil since the election after former Pentagon chief Mark EsperMark EsperWatch Out: Progressives are eyeing the last slice of the budget Biden needs to fill the leadership gaps on Day One US meets troops reduction goal in Afghanistan, Iraq MORE was ousted in favor of current acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, who is seen as more closely aligned with President TrumpDonald TrumpIran convicts American businessman on spying charge: report DC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worries Pardon-seekers have paid Trump allies tens of thousands to lobby president: NYT MORE.

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Gough denied that the meetings had been barred, though they are now scheduled to take place roughly a month after Biden was projected to beat Trump.

“The DOD Agency Review Team (ART) has not been denied any access. We continue to work with the DOD ART to schedule all requested interviews, briefings and updates,” she said.

Updated: Dec. 5 at 10:45 a.m.