• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • President MIA on Daily Intelligence Briefings

    According to an article in The Washington Post by opinion writer Marc Thiessen, President Obama isn’t attending his daily intelligence briefings all that often.

    In fact, Thiessen asserts that the President is missing more than half his daily intelligence briefings, attending only around 38 percent of his Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) intelligence sessions during 2011 and through mid-2012.

    If true, that’s really troubling.

    It’s not like there aren’t any high priority national security matters the Commander in Chief needs to get briefed on, right? By many accounts, the world is on fire and American interests are threatened in a whole raft of places around the globe.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to know that the President is keeping up on how the fight in Afghanistan is going, where 60,000 brave Americans are fighting the likes of the Taliban, Haqqani Network, and al-Qaeda?

    Or maybe what’s going on in Syria, where more than 20,000 people have now died over the last 18 months? Then again, what about Iran’s nuclear program, which has observers especially nervous that Tehran’s getting close to the “bomb”?

    Things aren’t going well in Asia, either. North Korea has a new leader, China is on the rise, and territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas have folks wondering if real trouble is around the corner.

    And it’s not like missing intelligence briefings is standard practice for an American President. Thiessen writes: “By contrast, Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, almost never missed his daily intelligence meeting.”

    Not surprisingly, the White House refutes Thiessen’s concerns, which are based on an investigation conducted by the Government Accountability Institute.

    According to the article, the National Security Council (NSC) didn’t seem to think the President missing a briefing—or briefings—was all that important as Obama is reported to read the PDB daily even if he didn’t meet with the intelligence briefers.

    But Thiessen makes a good point that the PDB document and the staff briefing complement one another. It gives the President an opportunity to discuss the PDB’s contents, get background information, and ask what might happen next.

    Of course, the President has an NSC and Cabinet secretaries that follow foreign policy and national security issues very closely. But the President needs to be a tireless student of international affairs, history, and the cultures of the nearly 200 countries and states that make up the international community.

    Anything less is dangerous to the protection and advancement of American interests.

    The state of affairs as outlined by Thiessen may also account to critics for some of the Administration’s lackluster foreign policies, but most important is the potential cost of getting national security policy wrong—and that cost could be American lives.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    16 Responses to President MIA on Daily Intelligence Briefings

    1. Bobbie says:

      He hasn't done the expected American presidential duty since the American people elected him into office. America is forced to reduce her moral principles for him? His attitude is overly sensitive and dangerous. His simple words aren't with meaning when further explanation is needed after the fact and not by his words but someone elses. He protects unions and corruption over integrity and the free market changing the rules to protect unions and corruption. Things don't work that way and It's time to let him go…

    2. Why should he attend? Obama knows everything. Mere mortals can tell him nothing. He also walks on water.

      • ToucheTurtle says:

        Indeed . . . why should he attend those endless meetings where they say the same thing day after day when he has Valerie Jarrett to tell him EVERYTHING of importance. According to her he is the most brilliant human being in the world but is apparently really bored with the day-to-day operations of his office . . . because he is just TOO smart! Relieving stress by playing golf is the only bright spot in his week. Of course, if he FAILS to attend the briefings, he doesn't have to listen to the fatalities that are racking up each day under his watch in Afghanistan, in his favored Arab Spring that has taken the Middle East by storm – look at the masses of murders in Syria alone! BUT he can dictate from a distance . . . he just orders new drone strikes on members of his "hit list" and then washes his hands of it – NO mess and NO fuss!

        Perhaps we should just relieve him of his duties ENTIRELY so he doesn't have to pretend to be touched by the mundane duties of his office of responsibility. Isn't it amazing? This is a job he has spent billions to get . . . and is spending many more to keep . . . . even though he apparently hates it! Boy, there is a real dichotomy there if you ask me!

        Perhaps it has dawned on him that when he loses in November, he will LOSE the prestige of being the leader of the largest country in the free world, the rare opportunity to live in the White House, the massive White House staff waiting on him and his family hand and foot, the endless use of Air Force One, the luxurious vacations all over the world, and lots of other perks too numerous to mention! ALL paid for by the taxpayers of this country!!!

        Yes, I am sure that it will be a shock to return to 5046 South Greenwood Ave, Chicago, IL!!!! I say, "Don't let the door hit you in the rearend on your way out, sir!"

    3. Chouhouin Oz says:

      I am sure if they install communication system on the golf cart 1, there would have been more daily briefs.

    4. Ardell Nagle says:

      This is no different than having a jobs counsel and not listening to them either!! Obama has his agenda he doesn't care about the economy or maintaing peace around the world!! His main goal is to get reelected nothing else!!

      • Lloyd Scallan says:

        Sorry Ardell – There is a hell of lot of difference. The "jobs counsel" does not deal with national security. The daily intelligence briefing are about protecting our nation. Since Obama first sat in the Oval Office, he attended only 44% of the briefings. Does that sound like he is concerned about keeping this nation safe. Not a chance. Imagine if he gets four more years to continue he deliberate destruction of our country?

    5. ronald yurchak says:

      It's like watching Rome burn. In this case Obama is probably playing golf.

    6. Bobbie says:

      his facial expressions are showing his child like, sinister side…
      Mitt Romney will handle his presidential duty with honor. Mitt is an honest man who's integrity shows while Obama shows no: integrity or any qualities of a good man or necessary qualities of an American leader…

      Tired of this 3rd world mentality leading America! Time to "CHANGE" back to human decency undetermined by government authority!!

    7. Ray says:

      And, playing golf and going on vacation!

    8. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Bill Clinton's refused to kill bin Laden on three seperate occations. Yet the New York Times blamed Bush for 9/11 without one word on Clinton failure. Obama attended 44% of his daily breifings, while Bush attented every one of them. Now Egypt and Libya are exploding. Anyone want to bet Obama, Dems, and the media blame Bush?

    9. Stirling says:

      How do we expect a president to fit "Inteligence" into his busy fundraising scheduel??? (He has never stoped since prior to the 2008 election). We are paying for this president to get educated, but he like many things "we the people" pay for he doesn't have the time for..

    10. Brad S., Detroit says:

      Oh, but he is the smartest man in the room, no matter who is in that room. Just ask him. I don't care what side of the political spectrum you fall on, you have to admit that this is the first real participatory job this President has EVER had. He is not used to getting up and going to work. He can't be bothered by things like Nationaly Security when he has important things like getting re-elected to do. Everytime this guy does anything, and I do mean anything – it is political. His "evolved" stance on gay marriage – pandering to the LGBT crowd. His decision on the Keystone XL pipeline – pandering to the environmental groups. His executive order on non-deportation of illegal immigrants – pandering to the Latino vote. This has not been a Presidency, so much as a 3 and a half year re-election campaign and now 4 Americans are dead in Libya because he doesn't have America's best interests in mind. Only his.

    11. guest says:

      One must understand Mr. O does not want to make any serious moves until AFTER his final election when he will have more flexibility. He's playing a stalling game.

    12. Doc Hilliard says:

      Little wonder Obama is so very ignorant.

    13. Angela C. says:

      As if Obama would honestly know what to do in a briefing? He absolutely does not deserve the title of "Commander in Chief".

    14. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      This is just in his first term when he must at least feign some concern on the issue. Imagine how rarely, if at all, he would attend them in a second term. He might just retask them to other departments, such as HHS, as national security will be of no consequence.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.