Mark Thiessen has an interesting Op Ed in the WAPO today. Apparently Barack Obama isn’t a big fan of attending the daily intelligence briefings designed to give the Commander-in-Chief the latest scoop regarding what is happening in the world. It turns out that more than half the time, the commander in chief does not attend his daily intelligence meeting. Granted he gets the report and claims to read it judiciously every day, but most of the time he skips the opportunity to probe, ask, questions and consult.
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.
Think about this for a moment. The Muslim Brotherhood has taken over Egypt, we are fighting a war with the Taliban in Afghanistan, Iran is building nukes, Syria is in the middle of a civil war, Russia is moving in on our area of influence and for the last year and a half Barack Obama has gone to less than four out of every ten intelligence briefings. And we are supposed to feel secure in his leadership?
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.
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.
Does this president believe he is so brilliant he does not need to understand the major international problems this country is facing? Then again we also know that Obama didn’t received his daily economic briefing from April 2011 though at least July 24 2012.
If he only attends 38% of his Intelligence briefings and 0% of his economic briefings, allow me to ask just what in the hell is he doing with his time? Folks this isn’t even leading from behind, this President is AWOL.