Transition delay Contributes to awkward gap between Biden and Harris in intel Accessibility

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President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede to President-elect Joe Biden has led to an odd national security dilemma: how to navigate a presidential transition once the senior president-elect is privy to classified information she cannot talk about with the upcoming commander-in-chief.

As a part of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has access to routine classified briefings and files up into the top-secret degree, and can ask intelligence briefings on particular subjects, stated David Priess, a former CIA officer and also everyday intelligence shorter beneath the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

Biden, in contrast, won’t be permitted access to classified information or some members of the intelligence community before the General Services Administration formally”ascertains” him because the president-elect — a formality which has traditionally happened within a day of election day but has been held up by Trump because he continues to challenge the election results.

Biden was granted classified briefings as a candidate but those stopped after he became president-elect, along with his standing as a former vice president and former senator doesn’t afford him access today.

The end result is an embarrassing gap between what Biden and Harris understand about the largest national security dangers facing the nation, which the Biden White House will have to be ready to respond to Day One of the new government. Harris can be legally prohibited from revealing any classified data to Biden, resulting in scenarios where she might need to punish herself when talking sensitive foreign policy and domestic security problems around the president-elect.

In the unlikely situation that Harris inadvertently revealed something categorized that she had learned as a member of a questionnaire briefing, mishandling of classified data is punishable under the Espionage Act.

“Until Biden is inaugurated, he’s no inherent right to classified data and not one of his discussions with Harris can venture into categorized topics until they {} begin getting classified briefings as part of their transition,” said national security attorney Brad Moss. “There’s never been an Espionage Act case against a sitting Member of Congress but nobody wishes to postpone the 400-pound keep with this one and threat it.”

A transition officer highlighted to POLITICO on Thursday the Harris’s work on the Intelligence Committee”is completely different from her job as the Vice President-Elect. There’s not any co-mingling of these roles and duties at all.” The official noted that Harris, such as Biden,”doesn’t have access to the [President’s Daily Brief] or other information about which she’s eligible as Vice President-elect due to their GSA’s failure to determine the outcomes of the election”

The official added that the data Harris receives by virtue of her membership to the Senate Intelligence Committee”isn’t the exact same information” as what’s from the PDB — a more comprehensive and highly classified document, gathered every morning to its president, vice president, along with their senior advisors from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which summarizes key national security threats and international hot spots.

However, Priess, that briefed the PDB to mature recipients under previous presidents, noted that the top-line analytical conclusions which make it in the record”wouldn’t be considerably different” from what’s briefed to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The committee members normally see evaluation”which is consistent with what’s from the PDB,” Priess stated. So while Harris can’t now find that record,”she must be seeing the very best judgments of the intelligence community and its various agencies in many, if not all, of the very same problems that arise at the PDB.” And she’ll be more”certainly a good deal better educated” about the most pressing problems than previous vice presidents have been around entering the White House, Priess stated.

Nonetheless, the transition officer suggested that Harris’ access to the most recent intelligence for a member of SSCI, that can be walled off from her job as president-elect, makes it not as pressing that Biden start receiving complete intelligence briefings and hazard assessments.

“The 9/11 Commission Report found that the postponed 2000 transition substantially outnumber the incoming administration’s capacity to fulfill key appointments, such as national security employees, and left the nation less ready for a catastrophe. That is why from the elections because, the transition process has started almost instantly,” the official stated. “It may also pose substantial challenges to obtaining President-elect Biden’s staff set up given the function of FBI background checks and security clearances for possible nominees and incoming federal security officers.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of the article misstated the prior job of David Priess from the President’s Daily Brief. He introduced the briefing; he didn’t craft it.

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