By working with our intelligence community, President Obama has refocused our security priorities and aggressively pursued the most serious national security threats to our nation. Not only have we eliminated more than two-thirds of al-Qaeda’s senior leaders, the President made the call based on intelligence reporting to pursue and bring Osama bin Laden to justice.
But conservative groups like American Crossroads are attempting to mislead Americans with a new ad claiming that the President is somehow not paying enough attention to intelligence matters. Once again, this irresponsible distortion completely ignores the facts. As the Washington Post’s fact checker notes, it’s “a misguided attack because Obama has chosen to receive his information in a different manner than his predecessor.”
Every day, the President reads a catalogue of national security information, known as the President’s Daily Brief (PDB). Here are the facts about President Obama’s intelligence briefings:
The PDB is a book containing the most critical and pressing intelligence information the President needs to know every day.
President Obama receives and reads his PDB every day, no matter where he is in the world. And most days when he’s at the White House, he receives a briefing in person.
As the National Security Council stated, “[The] President is among the most sophisticated consumers of intelligence on the planet ... When necessary he probes the arguments, requests more information or seeks alternate analysis. Sometimes that’s via a written assessment and other times it’s in person.”
The intelligence meetings on the President’s public schedule are in no way reflective of all the national security meetings he has each week.
“No president does it the exact same way,” the Washington Post notes. “Under the standards of [the American Crossroads] ad, Republican icon Ronald Reagan skipped his intelligence briefings 99 percent of the time.”
One need only review President Obama’s national security record to know that he has worked with our intelligence community to address the most important security issues facing our country. His record stands in stark contrast to that of his predecessor President George W. Bush, whose preference for oral intelligence briefings did not translate into more success in using that information. As the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart made clear, “What a president knows is important. What he does with that knowledge is essential to the safety and security of the nation.” President Obama’s national security record exemplifies this principle.