President Trump has agreed to allow President-elect Biden to begin receiving the President's Daily Brief, a classified intelligence report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, two U.S. officials and a source familiar confirmed to CBS News. Mr. Trump's decision comes after the federal agency that oversees the presidential transition formally started the process Monday evening.
Although Mr. Biden received lower-level intelligence briefings as a candidate, ODNI could not begin providing him with the brief until the General Services Administration sent a letter of "ascertainment" affirming that Mr. Biden won the election. After weeks of delay, GSA administrator Emily Murphy issued the letter Monday, freeing up funds and resources to be used by the Biden transition team and allowing incoming administration officials to meet with current agency staff.
"Following the statutory direction of the Presidential Transition Act, ODNI will provide requested support to the transition team," a spokesperson for the office told CBS News. "This afternoon the White House approved ODNI to move forward with providing the PDB as part of the support to the transition."
An ODNI official told CBS News that Mr. Biden's review team will be on site on Monday to meet with staff. Transition support from the agency could include providing an overview of the agency and related operations, and the delivery of intelligence briefings. Mr. Biden has named Avril Haines, a former CIA deputy director and former deputy national security adviser, as his pick for Director of National Intelligence, which would make her the first woman to serve in that role.
Although Mr. Trump has not conceded the election, his decision to allow Mr. Biden to receive the brief signals that he will not continue to obstruct the formal transition process. The president's campaign has launched several lawsuits challenging the election results in multiple states, but the majority of these suits have been unsuccessful. A small but growing number of Republican lawmakers are urging Mr. Trump to accept the results.
Although Mr. Biden has continued with his transition plans without the GSA's stamp of approval, a shortened official transition period presented a potential security risk. The 9/11 Commission Report found that the shortened transition process after the 2000 election contributed to the nation's unpreparedness for the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
In a statement earlier this month, an ODNI spokesperson said that the agency would not act until the GSA makes a move.
"ODNI follows the statutory direction provided in the Presidential Transition Act, which requires ascertainment of the candidate by the administrator of GSA prior to supporting a potential presidential transition. ODNI would not have contact with any transition team until notified by the GSA Administrator," the spokesperson said.
First published on November 24, 2020 / 4:57 PM
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