Tech Execs, Defense Industry, Intelligence Officials Form Core of Biden’s Transition Team

By David Martinez

Donald Trump’s administration has so far resisted any acknowledgement of president-elect Joe Biden’s victory, but this has not stopped Biden from marching forward with planning his transition to power. He has assembled a large stable of officials to fill his agency review teams, drawing from the highest levels of the US imperialist bourgeoisie including major tech companies, the defense industry, and former officials of US intelligence agencies.

His Council of Economic Advisers is led by Martha Gimbel of Schmidt Futures, a venture capital firm ‘for public benefit’ started by Google CEO Eric Schmidt which claims to solve massive societal issues through technology.

This theme runs through much of Biden’s advisers—tech companies and their representatives that market themselves as ‘saving the world’ through the development of software, hardware, and mass data gathering. In reality, they are only pursuing profits by mapping consumer algorithms and strengthening the ruling class’s ability to surveil and control the masses of people. Executives from Airbnb, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, Dell, LinkedIn, Lyft, Stripe, and more are ‘volunteering’ across the numerous agency review teams.

The ‘Intelligence Community’ group is stacked with numerous tech executives and former CIA and FBI leaders with a focus on cyber security. One such member of the ‘Intelligence’ group is Matt Olsen, the chief security officer for Uber, a company that has pushed to keep its employees working as private contractors in order to deny them benefits and other protections.

Matt Olsen, Chief Security Officer for Uber

Prior to working for Uber, Olsen was part of the Obama administration, holding various posts such as the director of National Counterterrorism Center, general counsel for the National Security Agency (NSA), and executive director of the Guantanamo Review task force, which never fulfilled Obama’s campaign promise to close down the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp.

Olsen has aggressively defended the use of warrantless searches of electronics and internet communications, saying that there is no reason for the state to require permission from a judge “to look at information it has already obtained.”

Greg Vogle, also on the intelligence community team, is from the McChrystal Group, which was founded by Stanley McChrystal, a CIA operative and former commander of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Vogle has also advised DGC International, which provides defense contracting services in Afghanistan.

Carmen Middleton, Former deputy executive director of CIA

Two representatives on the intelligence group are part of Disney, but built long careers in state intelligence agencies. Eric Velez-Villar, now Disney’s head of security for parks and resorts, worked for the FBI for 30 years, and Carmen Middleton, Disney’s Director of Strategic Security Operations, was formerly the deputy executive director of CIA. Middleton was touted as the ‘highest ranking Latina’ in the intelligence community in her time with the CIA and also functioned as the CIA’s ‘chief diversity officer.’

In the Department of State review team, multiple representatives hail from the Albright Stonebridge Group, a think tank created by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, who served under President Bill Clinton during the era of Iraqi sanctions. Also in this group is Bonnie Jenkins, from Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security, which seeks to ‘redefine’ national security, as if simply putting women in imperialist posts will resolve the irreconcilable contradictions between imperialism and the oppressed nations.

Based on data from, Biden has been the dominant recipient of weapons and defense industry dollars this election cycle with a total of $2.4 million compared to Trump’s $1.6 million, despite the fact that they historically donate mainly to the incumbent. A third of the Department of Defense agency review team, about eight individuals, list their most recent work as organizations tied to the defense and weapons industry.

Three people, Kathleen Hicks, Melissa Dalton, and Andrew Hunter, are from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a think tank that is funded by weapons manufacturers such as Raytheon, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Lockheed Martin Corporation, in addition to large oil companies.

While none of these ties may come as a surprise, it is worth noting the individuals who Biden will rely on and how ready he is to serve imperialist agendas against the people here and around the world. His roster of bourgeois functionaries exposes the futility of the default opportunism in imperialist countries, which claims that we can lobby these bourgeois representatives for reforms or collaborate with them. Reformists and opportunists are in denial of the fact that imperialism is an economic system that spreads misery and makes trouble as a law of its existence.

Biden’s transition team signals a continuation of imperialist practices to serve the maintenance of the US as the world’s sole hegemonic superpower, with a heavy focus on defense and harnessing technology for the control of markets and surveilling people. But with the rising waves of popular rebellions and revolutions, his shameful lineup of imperialist warmongers, exploiters, spooks, and corporate technocrats can only serve to guide this dying system as it stumbles from crisis to crisis, until its ultimate doom.


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