When it comes to intelligence briefings, Obama isn’t even voting ‘present’

Marc Thiessen asks a good question in the Washington Post today: Why is President Obama skipping more than half of his daily intelligence meetings?

Writes Thiessen:

Clint Eastwood re-enacts a scene from the president's daily intelligence briefings. (AP Photo)

Clint Eastwood re-enacts a scene from the president's daily intelligence briefings. (AP Photo)

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.

The Government Accountability Institute 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.

Thiessen relays a comment by a spokesman for the National Security Council, who points out that Obama still receives the information from the briefing daily. But, as Thiessen points out, the administration has portrayed Obama’s participation in these meetings as evidence of his deep “exploration of foreign policy and intelligence issues.” That’s rather at odds with the reality that he skipped almost 700 of these meetings in three and a half years.

And, of course, we would like for our president to get into just such an exploration of these issues with his resident experts on foreign policy and intelligence. Thiessen cites former security officials who say the meetings are an important way for Obama and his security advisers to ask questions of one another. When the president isn’t there, that isn’t happening.

This is certainly of a piece with the reporting from Bob Woodward’s latest book that “gaps” in presidential leadership mean, at times, “no one is running Washington.”

Of course, attending these meetings would make it harder for the president to fulfill one of his other priorities in, ahem, unprecedented fashion.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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394 comments Add your comment

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

September 10th, 2012
12:26 pm

Well, you have to have intelligence or at least be intelligent and I’m thinking they won’t let obozo in that room.

They probably hand him a set of golf clubs if he insists.

iggy

September 10th, 2012
12:39 pm

In obamas case I guess ignorance is bliss.

iggy

September 10th, 2012
12:46 pm

In IL politics Obama was basically a no show. Why should it be any diffrent now…

JamVet

September 10th, 2012
12:58 pm

In terms of foreign policy, Obama is an indecisive failure.

Just ask Osama Bin Laden.

Oh that’s right, you ODS cons can’t!

He’s sleeping with the fishes.

LOL!!!

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

September 10th, 2012
1:02 pm

Number of attacks on American soil:
Jan 2001 – Sept 2004: 1 (or you could call it 3)
Jan 2009 – Sept 2012: 0

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

September 10th, 2012
1:05 pm

George W. Bush almost never missed his daily intelligence meeting.

This just makes my post above that much more of a head scratcher. I suppose when you’ve been caught flat footed and asleep on your post, you make a constant show that you are on top of it..

Jack

September 10th, 2012
1:05 pm

Obama’s real concern is not national security; his real concern is turning our country into a Marxist state. America is not his favorite country and Americans are not his favorite people: If they were, he wouldn’t lean toward Wright’s guru James Cone.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

September 10th, 2012
1:08 pm

Oh, just click on Kyle’s last two links there. He wants the POTUS to stop campaigning. “Go chill on the beach for 50 days, you won’t lose Mr President”

Cons are praying their voter suppression works this time and it just might.

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

September 10th, 2012
1:09 pm

He seems to have little regard for what the 43 Presidents before him thought the job was. It seems he wants to write a new script, abandoning traditional duties and responsibilities, i.e. Leading.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

September 10th, 2012
1:19 pm

Boy, those right wing media outlets are creating geniuses.

According to a PPP poll of likely Ohio voters, 15 percent of Republicans in Ohio think Romney is “more responsible” for bin Laden’s death than Obama, while 47 percent of Republicans are “not sure” whether Obama or Romney deserves more of the credit.

http://www.salon.com/2012/09/10/15_percent_of_ohio_gopers_credit_romney_with_bin_ladens_death/

Auntie Christ

September 10th, 2012
1:20 pm

If you need any evidence that the cons are desperate for any issue on which to criticize the President, look no further than this column. Give wingfield credit though, he knows this is good bait to cast into the conservative cess pool to get the bottom feeders swarming around a made up “issue.” Now his brethren at drudge, the daily caller, and pox can write that “it has been reported” that Obama “skips his intelligence briefings” and “is endangering the country” by his indifference. Thus is the methodology of conservative character assassination. Yawn.

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

September 10th, 2012
1:22 pm

Jan 2001 – Sept 2004: 1 (or you could call it 3)

Finn: It was Clinton’s fault. Anything that happens within the first 3.5 years of a new President’s term, is the fault of the preceding administration.

Here is what Bush should have said if he was a whiner and blamer.

“Well, folks I inherited this mess. Clinton’s policies led to this. He was offered Osama, but did not accept. He had numerous opportunities to take him out, but failed. We are not going back to those failed policies, but have patience we will get through this. It is not my fault, I inherited this mess. Nine months is not enough time to correct 8 years of failed policies that I inherited.”

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

September 10th, 2012
1:25 pm

Auntie Christ

Instead of blaming the messenger, have you ever thought, that if Obama did his job, he would’nt receive quite so much criticism.

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

September 10th, 2012
1:28 pm

Kyle, did you ID the vulgar name jacker of @@ this weekend? I believe the first post was about 4:14 on Saturday. Repeat offender, probably.

td

September 10th, 2012
1:30 pm

JamVet

September 10th, 2012
12:58 pm

In terms of foreign policy, Obama is an indecisive failure.

Just ask Osama Bin Laden.

Oh that’s right, you ODS cons can’t!

He’s sleeping with the fishes.

LOL!!!

If you happen to watch 60 minutes last night then you would have heard that the CIA had a good idea as to where Osama was prior to Obama even taking office. As soon as they had enough verification then they told Obama and he gave the order to take him out. What else was he suppose to do? No brainer and whomever would have been in the WH would have done the exact same thing. Does this make Obama some great foreign policy guru? H3ll no. The only thing he has done correctly was to follow the Bush policies. Every time he has not followed them it has cost us.

MarkV

September 10th, 2012
1:37 pm

Kyle,
Would you enlighten us about the practical difference between being at the intelligence briefing and receiving the information from the briefing? And if you, perhaps, want to argue that at the briefing the President can ask questions, do you think that something bars the President from asking questions after he reads the information? Also, is there something that prevents the President to receive preliminary information about how important the briefing will be?

MarkV

September 10th, 2012
1:42 pm

“ Kyle, did you ID the vulgar name jacker of @@ this weekend?”

Kyle, while you are it, why don’t you check the I Report post on September 7th, 2012
@10:55 pm. Is that one ok by your rules?

Hillbilly D

September 10th, 2012
1:45 pm

Most presidents seem to lean toward involvement with either foreign policy or domestic policy, while giving the other short shrift. They concentrate on one at the expense of the other.

JDW

September 10th, 2012
1:58 pm

@Kyle…talk about reaching. :roll: what a load of hooey!

So let’s get this straight…you are up in arms because the President reads his daily briefing and has a face to face every other day. O bytheway should something require immediate attention all he has to do is pick up the phone.

No wonder Obama is doing a better job than Bush…he actually knows how to manage his time.

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

September 10th, 2012
2:01 pm

Hillbilly D

I agree with you on above. Bush too attuned to foreign policy and Clinton to domestic. The one we have now seems to lean toward what he feels like doing, if he feels like it, and they both get short shrift.

Andrew

September 10th, 2012
2:01 pm

Love to read all these ‘republicant’ blogs…so so silly and infintile. The meetings are held interoffice and departments on primarily Consulate briefings, infrastructure, budgets etc..The POTUS has complete access to ANY information or updates immediately. He is NEVER out of the loop and sitting in a briefing room discussing minutia is not necessary or warrented. Y’all make me laugh…and shake my head in disbelief.

Kyle Wingfield

September 10th, 2012
2:01 pm

Rafe @ 1:28: It was a troll. I’ve done what I can to keep him off the blog, but I imagine he’ll be back.

Common Sense

September 10th, 2012
2:02 pm

The irony is that his lack of attendance has probably kept us safer.

H.E. Pennypacker

September 10th, 2012
2:04 pm

Welcome back Kyle, this is the first you have posted since writing that you gave a very slight edge towards Romney and the GOP convention in furthering the cause of its respective party. Now that data is coming in soundly on the other side, care to reassess?

Centrist

September 10th, 2012
2:04 pm

I don’t think Obama has the experience to understand or act on such briefings, and probably (correctly) delegates attendance and (hopefully) decisions to people who advise him. My greatest concern is who he trusts to advise him, and whether he ultimately makes decisions based on national security or political ideology.

Stevie Ray...Clowns to my Left and Jokers to my Right here I am....

September 10th, 2012
2:07 pm

FINN,

Can you explain what exactly voter suppression is…ie who is being kept from voting and who those folks will likely support?

Stevie Ray...Clowns to my Left and Jokers to my Right here I am....

September 10th, 2012
2:09 pm

KYLE,

Have you had time to read “Leading From Behind”? It’s a gas, gas, gas!

Great fun fodder at the expense of President Trillions lack of people and leadership skills….he orates his particular brand of lies in grand fashion to be fair…Romney peddles his BS in less stylish form to be fair.

Stevie Ray...Clowns to my Left and Jokers to my Right here I am....

September 10th, 2012
2:11 pm

CENTRIST,

From what I’ve been reading, President Trillions one and only influence on every issue is his rabbi, Valerie Jennett…otherwise he likes to be alone with his thoughts…seems his stellar resume wasn’t condusive to leadership development..

JF McNamara

September 10th, 2012
2:13 pm

This is a dumb article. He is still getting the information. This isn’t 1920. He has a computer and a Blackberry.

It’s not the Presidents job to sit there while they ask each other questions. His job is to make decisions. Nowhere does it say that he is not. If they aren’t asking questions when they are supposed to then they are failing to do their jobs.

Bush was in Texas half the time, and I didn’t care. Just do your job. Bush got in trouble because he wasn’t. That doesn’t appear to be a problem with Obama.

yuzeyurbrane

September 10th, 2012
2:13 pm

Wasn’t it W who required all his national security reports to be condensed to no more than 2 paragraphs? I think it was something about a problem with attention span. Glad we have a President who can actually digest and consider large amounts of info. All of us who have worked in large organizations, private or public, know that most important data comes in the written form. Plus, many many studies have shown that the human brain can process much more visual input as compared to audio. Just ask any trial lawyer and others who use visual aids such as Power Point.

JDW

September 10th, 2012
2:21 pm

@Kyle…BTW did you catch the latest fund raising nums? How about the latest polls? Maybe Romney on Sunday deciding to keep all the good parts of Obamacare, minus of course the fiscally responsible mandate.

Lots going on but you want to talk time management. Sigh!

Hillbilly D

September 10th, 2012
2:21 pm

It’s not the Presidents job to sit there while they ask each other questions. His job is to make decisions.

If he sits there and listens to the back and forth, whether he asks any questions of his own or not, he’s heard more of the arguments from all sides and should be able to make a more informed decision, whatever that decision might be.

ByteMe

September 10th, 2012
2:22 pm

This is a dumb article. He is still getting the information. This isn’t 1920. He has a computer and a Blackberry.

It’s not the Presidents job to sit there while they ask each other questions.

Yep, it’s right up there with “the heathcare bill was 2700 pages, which is too long for me to read, so it must be bad.” Dumb right-wingers buy this crap.

H.E. Pennypacker

September 10th, 2012
2:23 pm

So Bush rarely missed a PDB, but still failed to sufficiently act when one was titled, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US”.

Based upon this I am going to go out on a limb and say, attendance in these meetings is over-rated.

southpaw

September 10th, 2012
2:32 pm

Maybe the President figures he’s already intelligent enough. :-)

Auntie Christ

September 10th, 2012
2:35 pm

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer’s ineptocracy
September 10th, 2012
1:25 pm

Auntie Christ

“Instead of blaming the messenger, ”
******************************************************

Your naIvete is astonishing. Those you would consider “messengers,” wingfield, drudge, pox pundits, tucker carlson and 90% of the right wing are not messengers, they are incessant whiners, slanderers, distorters, and mostly outright liars, who make it their raison d’etre to criticize everything Obama does or says. A “messenger” brings news and reports, not lies, innuendo, hit pieces and triviality like the aforementioned.

Road Scholar

September 10th, 2012
2:37 pm

So what you have established is that President Obama can read and comprehend, but Pres Bush could not?! And just how did Bush get his briefing when he was on vacation so much more than Pres Obama?

Now answer this….under whose watch did we get OBL and a majority of upper Alquida management? Try to get this one right? Challenged by history also?

mike

September 10th, 2012
2:40 pm

What great information to put out. Will you guys be keeping track of how many times the Pres goes to the can. You know that would be some important earth shattering news to write about.

Aquagirl

September 10th, 2012
2:44 pm

Oh, look, more dead Al Qaeda.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/09/10/yemen-officials-report-al-qaeda-no-2-killed-in-airstrike/

If you prefer a guy who goes to more meetings and launches wars based on faulty intelligence—you might be a Republican.

Don't Tread

September 10th, 2012
2:44 pm

0bama really gives a hoot about national security…yet another reason to vote against him (like we needed another reason).

meno

September 10th, 2012
2:48 pm

Silly Rafe, we know then that the first WWT attacks must have been Bush senior’s fault. I’m inclined to think that when you are officially on the clock your responsibility begins–I guess cons only believe in personal responsibility when it doesn’t make their heros look bad. Please explain though how 9/11 was Clinton’s fault given the memo earlier mentioned that W ignored. BTW can you find anyone in his administration making mention of al queda during almost 8 months in office before 9/11?

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

September 10th, 2012
2:50 pm

I’m concerned that Wingnut used obozo and intelligence together in the same sentence. Do you go on a bender this weekend, Kyle?

Or is this a tongue in cheek kinda deal?

southpaw

September 10th, 2012
2:51 pm

Some food for thought, especially for Road Scholar and Aquagirl, though certainly not restricted to them. Please take this as a straight question (possibly a dumb one, though I have doubts about the existence of dumb questions), not as snark.

President Lincoln appointed a “team of rivals” to his Cabinet, and President Obama had a similar idea four years ago. Supposing for a moment that Romney wins this election, what would you think of Obama as Secretary of Defense, given his success against al-Qaida?

@@

September 10th, 2012
2:53 pm

Thiessen cites former security officials who say the meetings are an important way for Obama and his security advisers to ask questions of one another.

Obama’s never been interested in feedback. Why bother himself with intelligence other than his own?

schnirt

During his campaign in 2008, he bragged about being tech-savvy. He also declared himself an accomplished delegator. Preparing us for his tendency to avoid, I ’spose.

The other day, I was reading an article about his recent return from somewhere. Under the heading was a picture with the caption “Obama walks and waves….”

My initial thought was “WOW, so the guy CAN do two things at once?”

NOT!

Pizza

September 10th, 2012
2:53 pm

Road Scholar – “W” on a two term vacation. Dick was President.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

September 10th, 2012
2:53 pm

The womenfolk in the White House had to drag obozo, kicking and screaming, into killing bin Laden, I would hardly call this a bold decision on our basketball players part.

Rush

September 10th, 2012
2:55 pm

Looks like Finn took a break from studying to amaze us with his/her/its in depth knowledge…..GOOD JOB FINN!!

WOW

September 10th, 2012
2:55 pm

The post convention bounce really has you guys grasping for things to criticize the President for…

Aquagirl

September 10th, 2012
2:58 pm

what would you think of Obama as Secretary of Defense, given his success against al-Qaida?

You mean under a Republican president? Both Washington and the entire nation are far too polarized to accept that sort of thing today. He’d be ineffective.

Don Abernethy

September 10th, 2012
2:58 pm

You have to be intelligent to be invited to an intelligence meeting.