WASHINGTON D.C. – In the fallout over President Barack Obama blaming the intelligence community for the rise of the Islamic State, a new report has surfaced showing that he attended less than half of his daily intel briefings.
The Government Accountability Institute, an investigative research organization, said the president went to only 42.1 percent of his intelligence meetings, known as the Presidential Daily Brief, or PDB, in the 2,079 days of his presidency through Monday, according to Breitbart.
The GAI report also revealed during his first term he attended 42.4 percent of the briefings, while Obama has even reduced that number in his second term, with just a 41.3 percent attendance record.
During an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday, the president claimed that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had failed to warn the Obama administration that the Islamic State terror group, also known as ISIS, was gaining a strong foothold in Iraq and Syria.
“I think our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” he said.
The Daily Beast’s Eli Lake alleged on Monday that as long as eight months ago Obama’s senior intelligence officials had alerted the White House that ISIS was growing in power while attempting to create a caliphate in Iraq and Syria.
“In the beginning of 2014, ISIS fighters had defeated Iraqi forces in Fallujah, leading much of the U.S. intelligence community to assess they would try to take more of Iraq,” wrote Lake, adding that members of the Defense department were “flabbergasted” by Obama’s statement.
“Either the president doesn’t read the intelligence he’s getting or he’s (lying),” a former senior Pentagon official who knew of the threat posed by Sunni extremists told the Beast.
Breitbart noted that following his controversial TV comments Obama has been accused by people in the intelligence community of lacking interest in “live” PDBs, which allow the president to ask follow-up questions, demand further information and challenge intel suppositions.
Meanwhile, an Obama national security staffer told the Daily Mail that the PDBs have included threat assessment on ISIS since 2012.
“It’s pretty well-known that the president hasn’t taken in-person intelligence briefings with any regularity since the early days of 2009,” the staffer said. “He gets them in writing.
“Unless someone very senior has been shredding the president’s daily briefings and telling him that the dog ate them, highly accurate predictions about (ISIS) have been showing up in the Oval Office since before the election.”
The White House said that the president prefers to read his intelligence briefings on his iPad instead of having in-person briefings, according to reports.
But Breitbart said, “The question remains whether a 42 percent attendance record on daily intelligence briefings is good enough for most Americans.”