Let’s put a couple of pieces together.
On 60 minutes, the President blamed the Intelligence Agencies – specifically, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper — for failing to detect the rise of ISIS (or, ISIL, if you prefer).
Squealing sources in the intelligence agencies have leaked that the President’s Daily (Security) Briefs PDBs have contained detailed threat warnings about the Islamic State dating back to before the 2012 presidential election.
So, what’s going on?
It’s pretty well-known that President Obama skips the Presidential Daily Briefing more often than not.
In fact, a new Government Accountability Institute (GAI) report reveals that “President Barack Obama has attended only 42.1% of his daily intelligence briefings (known officially as the Presidential Daily Brief, or PDB) in the 2,079 days of his presidency through September 29, 2014.” Source
The White House says not to worry:
WH staffers don’t dispute the GAI’s numbers but counters that Obama prefers to read his PDB on his iPad instead of receiving in-person briefings.
What’s wrong with that?
First, just imagine the way you scan the internet news each morning.
If you’re like most folks, you just scan for highlights and dive deep on things that you want to read about … not necessarily the things that you should read about … right?
Ditto for the PDB.
Once, I had some incidental contact with a former, highly regarded Director of National Intelligence.
He said that Presidents prior to Obama took their daily PDBs in-person, first thing each morning … rain or shine … wherever they were. Near perfect attendance.
The former DNI considered the daily PDB to be one of his most important responsibilities.
It was his opportunity to point the President to the most important matters in the deep deck, to add important “between the lines” commentary and “color”, and to answer any of the President’s questions in depth, in real-time.
In his view, that stuff gets lost when the report gets speed-read on an iPad.
So, it’s my bet that the Intelligence folks did their job and identified the threats … but, when they were put in a sanitized written report along with other potential threats, they got lost in the iPad shuffle.
Sometimes, technology is a limiter, not an enhancer.
Or, maybe it’s just a question of priorities …
Answer to the teaser question: probably somewhere between a C and an F, right?