Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
I have posted on this topic previously, but today the Washington Post's fact checker Glenn Kessler calls bullshit on The bogus claim that Obama ‘skips’ half of his intelligence briefings:
The notion that Obama has skipped his intelligence briefings was promoted by a right-leaning research group called the Government Accountability Institute, which published a report detailing that the president’s daily calendar shows Obama receiving an in-person briefing on the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) 43.8 percent of his time in office. (The percentage dropped from a high of 48.8 percent in 2010 to 38.2 percent through May of 2012.)
Marc Thiessen, a former Bush speechwriter who writes an opinion column for The Washington Post, then drew attention to what he called the “startling new statistics” in the report. His column on the subject is cited as the source in the American Crossroads ad.
That column also includes the White House’s response — that Obama reads his PDB every day, but he does not always require an in-person briefing every day. The White House argument is that this is how Obama structured his White House operation, so it is specious to say he has “skipped” a meeting that was not actually scheduled.
Our colleague Walter Pincus earlier this year examined how Obama has handled his morning foreign-policy discussions:
Obama reads the PDB ahead of time and comes to the morning meeting with questions. Intelligence briefers are there to answer those questions, expand on a point or raise a new issue. [National Intelligence Director James] Clapper may be present once or twice a week, but most often one of his deputies is in attendance in case an intelligence community issue arises.
When Pincus refers to the “morning meeting,” he is describing a regular national security meeting that is held every day at 9:30 a.m. with the president’s top advisers. In his article, he cites a meeting that took place on Jan. 13, 2012, that included discussion of the PDB with one of Clapper’s deputies. Yet the White House public schedule for that day lists no such meeting — and no PDB meeting. So the entire controversy appears based on a semantic distinction — or perhaps inaccurate White House schedules.
Kessler then does an historical review of how previous presidents dating back to Lyndon Johnson received their presidential daily briefings, with wide differences among them in personal preferences.
Clearly, different presidents have structured their daily briefing from the CIA to fit their unique personal styles. Many did not have an oral briefing, while three — two of whom are named Bush — preferred to deal directly with a CIA official. Obama appears to have opted for a melding of the two approaches, in which he receives oral briefings, but not as frequently as his predecessor.
Ultimately, what matters is what a president does with the information he receives from the CIA. Republican critics may find fault with Obama’s handling of foreign policy. But this attack ad turns a question of process — how does the president handle his intelligence brief? — into a misguided attack because Obama has chosen to receive his information in a different manner than his predecessor.
As it turns out, no president does it the exact same way. Under the standards of this ad, Republican icon Ronald Reagan skipped his intelligence briefings 99 percent of the time.