Biden says Trump aides causing ‘roadblocks’ to transition

WASHINGTON: US President-elect Joe Biden said on Monday that many US security agencies had been "hollowed out" under President Donald Trump and the lack of information being provided to his transition team by the outgoing administration was an "irresponsibility".

"We've encountered roadblocks from the political leadership at the Department of Defence and the Office of Management and Budget," Mr Biden said after a meeting with his foreign policy team.

"Right now we just aren't getting all of the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas. It's nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility," he added.

After Mr Biden beat Mr Trump in the Nov 3 election, the Democrat's team only began meeting with administration officials in late November to coordinate the handover.

Mr Trump, a Republican, has refused to concede defeat and his administration authorised cooperation with Mr Biden only on Nov 23.

When Mr Biden takes office on Jan 20, he will inherit a wide range of foreign policy and national security challenges.

One of his toughest tasks will be rebuilding US alliances that have frayed under four years of Mr Trump's America First agenda.

"My team needs a clear picture of our force posture around the world and our operations to deter our enemies," he said.

"We need full visibility to the budget planning under way at the Defence Department and other agencies in order to avoid any window of confusion or catch up that our adversaries may try to exploit."

But Mr Biden said his team, while securing cooperation from some federal agencies, had "encountered obstruction from the political leadership" at the Pentagon.

"And the truth is that many of the agencies that are crucial to our security have incurred enormous damage.

"Many of them have been hollowed out - in personnel, capacity and in morale," he said. - REUTERS