Kash Patel, a Trump loyalist who was connected to efforts to spread conspiracy theories about Joe Biden has been put in charge of the Pentagon transition effort with the incoming Biden-Harris administration, according to two US defense officials.
Patel is the chief of staff to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller. While its not unusual for a chief of staff to take a leading role in a transition effort, officials tell CNN that Patel is likely to come under scrutiny by many inside the Pentagon who are watching to see how cooperative he may be with the Biden team in providing critical information.
Patel just recently came to the Pentagon after President Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper and is viewed as an ardent Trump loyalist who will continue to do whatever he can to further the President’s political agenda in the time remaining in office.
The House impeachment inquiry uncovered evidence that Patel, who was then an aid to Rep. Devin Nunes was connected to the diplomatic back channel led by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, and the efforts to spread conspiracy theories about Joe Biden and coerce Ukraine into announcing an investigation of the former vice president.
Thomas Muir, the director of Washington Headquarters Services is providing the major Department of Defense support to the transition while Patel heads the overall effort another defense official said.Muir is expected to facilitate office space, communications and access to information.
A senior defense official said that prior to Patel overseeing the transition process, his predecessor Jen Stewart who was chief of staff to Esper was leading the process.
Since coming to the Pentagon, Patel has overseen decisions to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan
The Pentagon said Monday night that the Biden-Harris team has been in touch with the Department of Defense team.
Barbara Starr reports: