United States President Donald Trump has signed off on giving his successor access to the nation’s most secure secrets, news services have reported.
The decision means President-elect Joe Biden will have access to the latest intelligence about major national security threats around the globe.
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An administration official said Tuesday that Trump has allowed Biden to receive the President’s Daily Brief (PDB), the highly classified briefing prepared by the nation’s intelligence community for the government’s most senior leaders.
The official said the logistics of when and where Biden would first receive the briefing were still being worked out, The Associated Press reported.
Biden has been working from his home in Wilmington, Delaware and from temporary space at a local theatre.
An Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) official told the Reuters news service that, “following the statutory direction of the Presidential Transition Act, ODNI will provide requested support to the transition team”.
“This afternoon the White House approved ODNI to move forward with providing the PDB as part of the support to the transition,” the unnamed official said.
The determination comes a day after the General Services Administration (GSA) cleared the way for beginning formal transition planning to Biden’s administration ahead of his January 20 inauguration as the 46th president of the US.
Trump continues to sow doubt about the outcome of the November 3 election and has not formally conceded, but increasingly, his administration is preparing for the handover.
Biden said that the transition of power has “already begun” and that he feels his team is “going to not be so far behind the curve as we thought we might be in the past.”
“There’s a lot of immediate discussion, and I must say, the outreach has been sincere. There has not been begrudging so far. And I don’t expect it to be. So yes, it’s already begun,” Biden said in an interview set to air Tuesday night on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.
Trump has still refused to concede and vowed to continue to fight in court even after giving GSA Administrator Emily Murphy a green light to coordinate with Biden’s transition team.
I want to thank Emily Murphy at GSA for her steadfast dedication and loyalty to our Country. She has been harassed, threatened, and abused – and I do not want to see this happen to her, her family, or employees of GSA. Our case STRONGLY continues…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 23, 2020
Murphy had been under increasing pressure from members of Congress to declare Biden the apparent winner and begin the formal transition process.
“Our democracy and the orderly transition of power from one president to another must not be undermined by the inexplicable unwillingness of one candidate to accept the clear results of an election, or the inaction of government officials such as yourself,” Representative Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, had said in a November 23 letter to Murphy.
Biden introduced his national security team earlier in the day, his first substantive signal of how he will shift away from Trump’s international policies.
Antony Blinken, a distinguished, longtime foreign policy aide to Biden, will serve as secretary of the US Department of State.
Alejandro Mayorkas, a Cuban-American lawyer and former director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, will be the secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security.
Diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield will be named ambassador to the United Nations. Jake Sullivan, a national security adviser under Biden when he served as vice president, will be the White House’s national security adviser.
Avril Haines, a former deputy director of the CIA, was picked to serve as director of National Intelligence, the US’s top spy job. She would be the first woman to hold that post.
Former Secretary of State John Kerry will be a special envoy on climate change.