As a candidate for President in 2008, candidate Barack Obama harshly condemned politicians in Washington for being too concerned with politics and not concerned enough with intelligence. Obama chastised the Washington establishment in a highly touted speech on the Iraq war:
"...[T]here were too many politicians in Washington who spent too little time reading the intelligence reports, and too much time reading public opinion. The lesson of Iraq is that when we are making decisions about matters as grave as war, we need a policy rooted in reason and facts, not ideology and politics."
Fayetteville, North Carolina
March 19th, 2008
However, the Government Accountability Institute recently examined President Obama’s schedule to see how often he attended his Presidential Daily Intelligence Briefing (PDBs). During his first two and a half years in office, Obama attended the briefing just 43.8 percent of the time. During 2011 and the first half of 2012 his attendance fell to just over 38 percent. And others have suggested in the week before the deadly embassy attacks Obama was absent from such meetings. By contrast, Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, almost never missed his daily intelligence meeting according to former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen.
To be fair, the White House claims the president reads his daily briefings everyday if he does not attend the meetings personally. But the irony remains that while candidate Obama campaigned on putting intelligence at the forefront of his administration, President Obama, even if he is reading, is not attending and engaging.
In the wake of current events and world affairs, any neglect of the intelligence community seems ill advised.