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Obama Skips Half Of Intelligence Briefings

From an opinion piece from the Washington Post:

Why is Obama skipping more than half of his daily intelligence meetings?

By Marc A. Thiessen | Monday Sept 10, 2012

President Obama is touting his foreign policy experience on the campaign trail, but startling new statistics suggest that national security has not necessarily been the personal priority the president makes it out to be. It turns out that more than half the time, the commander in chief does not attend his daily intelligence meeting.

Still, if Obama doesn’t attend his intelligence meetings and he doesn’t meet with his jobs council, why do we pay him? If all he is going to do is campaign and fundraise, shouldn’t the DNC give him his salary?

The Government Accountability Institute, a new conservative investigative research organization, examined President Obama’s schedule from the day he took office until mid-June 2012, to see how often he attended his Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) — the meeting at which he is briefed on the most critical intelligence threats to the country. During his first 1,225 days in office, Obama attended his PDB just 536 times — or 43.8 percent of the time. During 2011 and the first half of 2012, his attendance became even less frequent — falling to just over 38 percent. By contrast, Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush almost never missed his daily intelligence meeting.

So for the last year and a half Obama has been skipping 62% of these briefings. And we’re told foreign policy is his strong suit. And we are told he cares out the military. And yet he skips all of these meetings during two wars.

I asked National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor about the findings, and whether there were any instances where the president attended the intelligence meeting that were not on his public schedule. Vietor did not dispute the numbers, but said the fact that the president, during a time of war, does not attend his daily intelligence meeting on a daily basis is “not particularly interesting or useful.” He says that the president reads his PDB every day, and he disagreed with the suggestion that there is any difference whatsoever between simply reading the briefing book and having an interactive discussion of its contents with top national security and intelligence officials where the president can probe assumptions and ask questions

He reads them right before he reads the letters from all the school children.

According to former officials who have detailed knowledge of the PDB process, having the daily meeting — and not just reading the briefing book — is enormously important both for the president and those who prepare the brief. For the president, the meeting is an opportunity to ask questions of the briefers, probe assumptions and request additional information. For those preparing the brief, meeting with the president on a daily basis gives them vital, direct feedback from the commander in chief about what is on his mind, how they can be more responsive to his needs, and what information he may have to feed back into the intelligence process. This process cannot be replicated on paper…

Obama doesn’t need intelligence briefers for that kind of guidance. He can just ask his speech writers.

While the Bush records are not yet available electronically for analysis, officials tell me the former president held his intelligence meeting six days a week, no exceptions — usually with the vice president, the White House chief of staff, the national security adviser, the director of National Intelligence, or their deputies, and CIA briefers in attendance. Once a week, he held an expanded Homeland Security briefing that included the Homeland Security adviser, the FBI director and other homeland security officials. Bush also did more than 100 hour-long “deep dives” in which he invited intelligence analysts into the Oval Office to get their unvarnished and sometimes differing views. Such meetings deepened the president’s understanding of the issues and helped analysts better understand the problems with which he was wrestling.

This is what is known as work. Mr. Obama does not believe in work. He likes being President, but he doesn’t like doing the job of President.

When Obama forgoes this daily intelligence meeting, he is consciously placing other priorities ahead of national security.

Such as campaigning and fundraising. Which mostly amounts to ‘being adored.’

As The Post story that the Obama White House sent me put it, “Process tells you something about an administration. How a president structures his regular morning meeting on intelligence and national security is one way to measure his personal approach to foreign policy.”

Indeed it is…

This is a very timely article, given how so many people have tried to (falsely) blame President Bush for 9/11 because he had not ‘heeded the warnings’ beforehand?

In fact, they are still doing it. Even this morning on MSNBC’s always despicable Morning Joe, they ran a segment "What Bush Knew — Briefings Warned Of Attacks"

But, as this piece notes, Obama is not even ‘getting the warnings.’ He can’t be bothered.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, September 11th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Obama Skips Half Of Intelligence Briefings”

  1. Petronius

    I could say something about an empty chair but I suppose that would be in bad taste.

    Suffice to say he does not know how to be president.

    And has no interest in learning.

    Living in the White House, spending big gobs of other people’s money, granting amnesties, suing Arizona, making speeches, playing golf, and flying around on Air Force One doesn’t make you a president.

    If I wear animal skins, speak a few words of Ngaanyatjarra, play the didgeridoo, and hunt wombats in the outback with a spear, does that make me an Australian Aborigine?

    • Right of the People

      Only if you also hang out with Crocodile Dundee.

      I’ve said from the beginning the present resident of the Oval Office is an empty suit, a talking head of zero ability but Eastwood’s alluding to the empty chair was very apt and fitting.

  2. canary

    That speaker back in Chicago said Obama is obsessed with reading the news daily.

    So, when Obama read in the news that the U.S. Military would stop training Afghanistan police who were slaughtering U.S. and NATO soldiers who taught them, he immediately handed over the U.S. run
    prison in Kabul to Afghanistan.

    Obama read in news Hillary Clinton deemed a fraction in Pakistan as official terrorist organization, Obama was furious saying it would hurt our ties with Pakistan.

    Obama has been busy scrubbing news that last fall he started droning Syria, to now the version the U.S. will be “increasing” U.S. personnel and ” Spies ! ” in Syria in continued non-lethal aid.

    Obama did call out a warning that now any U.S. citizens in Syria will be treated as a SPY. !

    Obama is doing everything he can to kill off U.S. foot soldiers. He could allow them to convert to
    the U.S. Navy and Air Force saving on re-enlistments and training, but he has until 2014 and beyond to kill of U.S. Soldiers who might be able to protect the U.S. from an attack.


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