This sort of dereliction of duty should have President Obama giving himself a facepalm.
What am I talking about you may wonder?
President Obama was given detailed and specific intelligence about the rise of the Islamic State as part of his daily briefing for at least a year before the group seized large swaths of territory over the summer, a former Pentagon official told Fox News.
The official — who asked not to be identified because the President’s Daily Brief is considered the most authoritative, classified intelligence community product analyzing sensitive international events for the president — said the data was strong and “granular” in detail.
The source said a policymaker “could not come away with any other impression: This is getting bad.”
If true, it means that Obama was lying out of his ass when a few weeks ago he said this:
“There is no doubt that their advance their movement over the last several of months has been more rapid than the intelligence estimates and I think the expectation of policy makers both in and outside of Iraq.”
How would he know? He’s not getting briefed on them. But this sort of amateurishness I find galling:
Obama, unlike his predecessors who traditionally had the document briefed to them, is known to personally read the daily brief. The former Pentagon official, who has knowledge of the process, said Obama generally was not known to come back to the intelligence community with further requests for information based on the daily report.
This issue has actually come up before. Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen wrote a column last year noting that Obama skipped more than half of his intelligence briefings. However he included the administration response, which was that the President reads his Daily Intelligence Briefing every day and doesn’t require an actual in person briefing. One presumes because darn it, he’s just that smart.
I would call that nonsense, and I know a little bit about the subject. During my military career I gave briefings, I wrote and helped assemble briefings, I’ve read them, and sat in on briefings. Military and Intelligence officials get their briefings in person from a briefer, and I can assure you it’s not because they aren’t as smart as the President. You need a briefer there because if you have any questions on any of the briefed issues (and I’ve never seen a high level person being briefed who didn’t ask questions) you need to have someone there who can elaborate on the issue. Being briefed isn’t a passive activity; you are supposed to be actively engaged in your own briefing.
And that’s among people who already have spent a working lifetime immersed in the details of military and intelligence capabilities and areas of interest. That is not the President’s background. He received his first intelligence briefing shortly before the election in 2008; the guy is no expert. If anyone needs the handholding of a skilled briefer it’s him.
It’s not as if Obama is the first President who arrived in the White House with no military or national security experience, but I doubt there has been a more arrogant one who was just too cool for the room and who no doubt genuinely thinks he knows more than the military and intelligence professionals who desperately need to educate him. No wonder Obama has ‘no strategy’ for handling ISIS. He’s just recently heard of them.