Dear Administrator Murphy,

We write to urge you to promptly name Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the apparent President-elect and Vice President-elect under the Presidential Transition Act (the “Act”). We are former national security, senior military, and elected officials, including officials from the Trump Administration and other administrations of both parties. We reiterate what a bipartisan group of four former Secretaries of Homeland Security have already stated: delaying the transition further poses a serious risk to our national security.

As you know, the GSA plays a pivotal role in ensuring a smooth transfer of power from one president to the next. The access and resources guaranteed to the President-elect and the Vice President-elect under the Act only become available once the Administrator of General Services “ascertain[s]” the identity of the “apparent successful candidates” of a presidential election. That includes access to critical information needed to address pressing national security issues, such as the President’s Daily Brief and pending decisions on possible uses of military force. The Act also permits the President-elect’s transition team to obtain security clearances, in advance of the inauguration, for individuals who will hold high-level national security positions in the new administration. The access provided by the Act is essential to ensure continuity of government from one administration to the next, and each day the Administrator delays is another day that the Biden team will be without critical information to prepare to combat the threats that the nation faces.

Our nation’s recent history demonstrates how important it is that you make the required determination as soon as possible. The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the “9/11 Commission”) found that the 36-day delay in transition owing to the contested 2000 election led to a six-month delay in fully staffing the national security apparatus
under the Bush Administration, which left our country more vulnerable to foreign adversaries.

For that reason and against the backdrop of the contested election in 2000, the 9/11 Commission recommended that transitions should strive to “minimize as much as possible the disruption of national security policymaking.” That recommendation carries all the more force amidst a oncein-a-century pandemic.

The time has come for you to recognize that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the apparent victors of the presidential election and are therefore the President-elect and Vice President-elect. Although counting is still ongoing in some states, the math makes apparent what will soon become official: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have clearly prevailed. Nor has any evidence been presented in any forum that raises any realistic possibility of changing that result.

Further, it must be noted that your ascertainment that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the “apparent successful candidates” will not impact President Trump’s ability to pursue any valid legal claims or his efforts to contest the results of the presidential election.

In this moment of uncertainty, we must put politics aside. Further delaying the Biden team’s ability to access the President’s Daily Brief and other national security information and resources compromises the continuity and readiness of our national leadership, with potentially immense consequences for our national security.

Sincerely,
(Note: All titles are former positions.)
Sandy Adams, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy
Javed Ali, Senior Director for Counterterrorism, National Security Council; former Deputy National Intelligence Officer, National Intelligence Council
Wendy R. Anderson, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense
Robert Andrews, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations; Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army; National Security Advisor to Senator John Glenn; Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Counterintelligence; National Intelligence Officer, CIA
Ricardo Aponte, Brigadier General, U.S. Air Force; Director, J7 U.S. Southern Command
Jamie Barnett, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy
Marisa W. Barthel, Senior Operations Manager, CIA
Jeff Bialos, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Industrial Affairs
Jason M. Blazakis, Director, Counterterrorism Bureau, State Department
Andrew Borene, Associate Deputy General Counsel, Department of Defense; Intelligence and
Special Security Officer, U.S. Marine Corps
Peter Bridges, Ambassador to Somalia
Zachery Tyson Brown, Intelligence Officer, Department of Defense
Steven A. Browning, Ambassador to Malawi and Uganda
Bruce Butterworth, Director of Civil Aviation Security Operations, FAA
Daniel Byman, Professor, Georgetown University
Piper Campbell, Ambassador to Mongolia; Charge, U.S. Mission to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); Co-Chair, Women Ambassadors Serving America
Kevin Carroll, Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Homeland Security
Rod Chandler, Deputy Director, Weapons Intelligence, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Center (WINPAC); Senior Intelligence Service, CIA
Ann Mei Chang, Chief Innovation Officer, USAID
Wesley Clark, General, U.S. Army
Eliot A. Cohen, Counselor, Department of State
Herman Cohen, Ambassador
Carrie Cordero, Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for National Security
Gary Corn, Staff Judge Advocate (General Counsel) for U.S. Cyber Command
Thomas Countryman, Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation
Michael Daniel, Special Assistant to President Obama and Cybersecurity Coordinator; Chief, Intelligence Branch, Office of Management and Budget
Glyn T. Davies, Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand; Executive Secretary of the National Security Council
Dirk Debbink, Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy
Greg Delawie, Ambassador
Charlie Dent, U.S. Representative, 2005-2018; Chair, House Ethics Committee, 2015-2017
Richard T. Devereaux, Major General, U.S. Air Force; Director of Operational Planning, Policy, and Strategy, U.S. Air Force Headquarters
Larry Diamond, Senior Advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority
Eileen Donahoe, Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council
John W. Douglass, Brigadier General, U.S. Air Force; Assistant Secretary of the Navy
Dave Durenberger, U.S. Senator, 1978-1995
Mickey Edwards, U.S. Representative, 1977-1993; Chair, House Republican Policy Committee, 1989-1993
Susan M. Elliott, Ambassador
Anthony Fainberg, Department of Homeland Security; SES, Federal Aviation Administration
Gerald Feierstein, Ambassador to Yemen; Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs
Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs
Mark Fitzpatrick, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Non-Proliferation
Michael Franken, Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy
Larry Garber, Senior Official, USAID
Glenn Gerstell, General Counsel, NSA
Karen Gibson, Lieutenant General, U.S. Army
James K. Glassman, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs
Kevin P. Green, Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy
Jim Greenwood, U.S. Representative, 1993-2005
Jennifer A. Gregg, Senior Intelligence Service Officer, CIA
Ken Gross, Ambassador
Anne Gruner, Deputy Director, WINPAC; Senior Intelligence Service, CIA
Nina Hachigian, Ambassador
Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense; U.S. Senator, 1997-2009
Morton H. Halperin, Director, Policy Planning Staff, Department of State; National Security Council Staff
Janice M. Hamby, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy
James Harris, Chief, China Division, Chief, Strategic Assessments Group, CIA
Luke Hartig, Senior Director for Counterterrorism, National Security Council
Michael V. Hayden, General, U.S. Air Force; Director, CIA; Director, NSA
Jason Healey, Director, Homeland Security Council
Gail Helt, Intelligence Officer, CIA
Margaret Henoch, Senior Intelligence Service Officer, CIA
Paul Hollingsworth, Senior Director for Intelligence Programs, National Security Council
Rush D. Holt, U.S. Representative, 1999-2015; Chair, Select Intelligence Oversight Panel
Vicki Huddleston, Ambassador
Cameron Hume, Ambassador
Gordon J. Humphrey, U.S. Senator, 1979-1991
Paul D. Humphries, CIA; U.S. Army
Carol W. Humphries, CIA; Captain, U.S. Navy Reserve
Charles G. Ikins, Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps; Foreign Affairs Specialist, Department of Defense
William Inboden, Senior Director for Strategic Planning, National Security Council
Chris Inglis, Deputy Director, National Security Agency
Arlen Jameson, Lieutenant General, U.S. Air Force
Dennis Jett, Ambassador to Peru and Mozambique
Beth Jones, Ambassador to Kazakhstan; Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia
Deborah K. Jones, Ambassador to Kuwait and Libya
Yvonne Keeler, CIA Counterproliferation Officer
Payton Knopf, Foreign Service Officer
Jim Kolbe, U.S. Representative, 1985-2007
Jimmy Kolker, Ambassador; Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services
David J. Kramer, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights & Labor
David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security
James C. Lawler, Senior Intelligence Service, CIA
J. William Leonard, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Security and Information Operations; Director, Information Security Oversight Office
Andy Liepman, Former Deputy Director, National Counterterrorism Center; Senior Intelligence Service, CIA
George Little, Press Secretary, Pentagon; Spokesman, CIA
Hugo Llorens, Ambassador to Honduras; U.S. Special Charge d’Affaires in Afghanistan
Lewis Lukens, Ambassador
Randy Manner, Major General, U.S. Army
Sarah Margon, Special Envoy, Department of State
Edward Marks, Ambassador
Carlos Martinez, Brigadier General, U.S. Air Force
Michael McFaul, Ambassador to the Russian Federation
C. Steven McGann, Ambassador to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, the Kingdom of Tonga and Tuvalu
James McIlmail, Executive Director for Operations, Defense Intelligence Agency
Joseph V. Medina, Brigadier General, U.S. Marine Corps
Thomas O. Melia, Assistant Administrator, USAID; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
Christopher K. Mellon, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence
John Mitnick, General Counsel, Department of Homeland Security
Kyle Murphy, Director on National Security Council staff; Senior Intelligence Officer, Defense Intelligence Agency
Joseph (Jody) Myers, Director for Counterterrorism, National Security Council
Elizabeth Neumann, Assistant Secretary, Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention, Department of Homeland Security
John M. Norris, Representative for Director of National Intelligence George Tenet to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
Suzanne Nossel, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
J. Scott O’Meara, Brigadier General, U.S. Marine Corps
Rick Olson, Ambassador
Christopher Painter, Coordinator for Cyber Issues, Department of State
Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, General Counsel, CIA; General Counsel, NSA
Anne Patterson, Ambassador to El Salvador, Colombia, Pakistan, and Egypt
Eric Pelofsky, Special Assistant to the President; Senior Director, National Security Council
Tom Perriello, U.S. Representative, 2009-2011; U.S. Special Envoy for the African Great Lakes
William J. Perry, Secretary of Defense
Larry Pfeiffer, Chief of Staff, CIA; Senior Director, White House Situation Room
Annie Pforzheimer, Minister Counselor, Department of State
Randal Phillips, Senior Intelligence Service, CIA; Chief of Station, Beijing
Thomas R. Pickering, Under Secretary of State; Ambassador to the United Nations, Russia,
India, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria, and Jordan
William Piekney, Senior Operations Manager, CIA
Steven Pifer, Ambassador to Ukraine
Gale S. Pollock, Major General, Acting Surgeon General, U.S. Army
Marc Polymeropoulos, Senior Intelligence Service, CIA
Samantha Power, Ambassador to the United Nations
Erik Prentice, Bio Issue Manager, Senior National Intelligence Service, CIA
Stephen Preston, General Counsel, Department of Defense; General Counsel, CIA
Greg Rattray, Director of Cybersecurity, National Security Council; Colonel, U.S. Air Force
Spencer Roach, Brigadier General, U.S. Army
Thomas B. Robertson, Ambassador to Slovenia
Harold L. Robinson, D.D., Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy
Todd Rosenblum, Deputy Under Secretary of Intelligence, Department of Homeland Security
Paul Rosenzweig, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Department of Homeland Security
Nilmini Rubin, Director, National Security Council
Joel Rubin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
Robin Sanders, Ambassador to Nigeria and Congo; Africa Director, National Security Council
Claudine Schneider, U.S. Representative, 1980-1990
Stephen A. Seche, Ambassador to Yemen
Robert B. Shanks, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, Department of Justice
Nick Shapiro, Deputy Chief of Staff, Senior Advisor to the Director, CIA
Wendy R. Sherman, Acting United States Deputy Secretary of State; Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs; Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs
Douglas A. Silliman, Ambassador to Iraq and Kuwait
John Sipher, Senior Intelligence Service, CIA
Suzanne Spaulding, Under Secretary, Department of Homeland Security; Assistant General Counsel, CIA
Madelyn E. Spirnak, Senior Foreign Service Officer
Alan Steelman, U.S. Representative, 1973-1977
Miles Taylor, Chief of Staff, Department of Homeland Security
Robert S. Taylor, Principal Deputy General Counsel, Department of Defense
Francis Taylor, Brigadier General, U.S. Air Force
Colin Thomas-Jensen, Senior Advisor to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations
Harry Thomas, Jr., Director General, Foreign Service
Susan Thornton, Acting Assistant Secretary of State, East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Kurt Tong, Ambassador; U.S. Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau
Olivia Troye, Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor to Vice President Mike Pence
Alexander Vershbow, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs;
Ambassador to NATO, Russia and South Korea
Edward S. Walker, Jr., Ambassador to Egypt, Israel, UAE and U.S. Mission to the United Nations
Thomas Warrick, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Policy, Department of Homeland Security
Earl Wayne, Ambassador to Mexico and Argentina; Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs
William Wechsler, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Combatting Terrorism
Pamela A. White, Ambassador
Michael Wilson, Major General, U.S. Air Force
Gregory P. Wilson, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Financial Institutions Policy, U.S. Treasury Department
Jonathan M. Winer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, International Law Enforcement; U.S. Special Envoy for Libya
Douglas H. Wise, Senior Intelligence Service, CIA; Deputy Director, DIA
Tamara Cofman Wittes, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs
David T. Wolfson, Senior Foreign Service Officer
Stephen N. Xenakis, M.D., Brigadier General, U.S. Army
Dov Zakheim, Under Secretary of Defense and Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Defense.