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Biden and Harris now getting the president’s daily intel brief

Then-Vice President Joe Biden speaks to troops at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. (Staff Sergeant Charles Larkin Sr./U.S. Air Force)
December 01, 2020

On Monday, Joe Biden received his first President’s Daily Brief; a key step in the transition phase between presidential administrations. The briefing comes as President Donald Trump continues to contest the 2020 election results and has not conceded the election.

The Biden transition team notified American Military News via email that Biden would receive his first presidential brief on Monday, and that both Biden and his vice presidential running mate Kamala Harris would each separately receive the briefing on Tuesday. The President’s Daily Briefs provide Biden and Harris access to a summary of the day’s U.S. intelligence findings and national security matters.

Presidents-elect typically begin receiving the President’s Daily Brief during the transition period into office before their inauguration.

Biden and Harris had not gained access to the intelligence briefing until President Trump and Government Services Administration (GSA) administrator Emily Murphy authorized the transition to begin last week, despite Trump’s vow to continue his election challenges.

The start of the Biden team’s daily intelligence briefs also comes about three weeks after several U.S. media outlets called the race on his behalf.

On November 6, three days after Election Day and a day before media outlets called the race for Biden, retired U.S. Air Force general and former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden tweeted, “Joe Biden should receive the president’s intelligence briefing every day. Now.”

The Biden transition team’s newly established access to the presidential intelligence briefs could contain info related to Trump’s moves to reduce troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Trump administration’s plan is to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan by about half, from about 4,000 U.S. troops to about 2,500 and by about 500 in Iraq from about 3,000 troops to 2,500. The troop reductions are set to be complete by January 15, days before the inauguration day on January 20, when the president is to be sworn-in to office.

Rising tension with Iran in recent days is another matter that could be included in the briefing. Following the ambush attack and assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran has blamed the U.S. and Israel for his killing and vowed to respond to the assassination “in a proper time.”

Iranian analyst Sadollah Zarei, writing an op-ed for Iran’s Kayhan newspaper, called for Iran to signify its retaliation for Fakhrizadeh’s killing by attacking the Israeli port city of Haifa, Israel’s third-largest city. Zarei wrote Iran’s response should be larger than the January ballistic missile attack on U.S. troop housing in Iraq in retaliation for the U.S. killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.