White House Press Secretary Jay Carney calls a new Government Accountability Institute (GAI) report finding that President Obama has missed over half of his daily intelligence briefings “hilarious.”
“It’s revealing that Mr. Carney did not dispute the Government Accountability Institute’s actual numbers,” said Government Accountability Institute President Peter Schweizer in an interview with Breitbart News. “That’s probably because our findings are drawn directly from the White House’s own calendar.”
The study found the following:
The Government Accountability Institute, a new conservative investigative research organization, examined President Obama’s schedule from the day he took office until mid-June 2012, to see how often he attended his Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) — the meeting at which he is briefed on the most critical intelligence threats to the country. During his first 1,225 days in office, Obama attended his PDB just 536 times — or 43.8 percent of the time. During 2011 and the first half of 2012, his attendance became even less frequent — falling to just over 38 percent.
During a White House press briefing today, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney blasted the Government Accountability Institute’s findings as being “hilarious” and said:
The President of the United States gets the presidential daily briefing every day. He always reads it, every day, because he’s a voracious consumer of all of his briefing material.
Likewise, National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor fired back the following response to Politico via email:
“The President is among the most sophisticated consumers of intelligence on the planet,” National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor wrote in an e-mail. “He receives and reads his [Presidential Daily Brief] every day, and most days when he’s at the White House receives a briefing in person. 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.”
Carney also used the report’s findings to take a swipe at former President George W. Bush:
“I believe if you compare our foreign policy record with the one … that proceeded this one, we’re comfortable with that comparison,” he said at the White House’s daily press briefing. “This president is very much steeped in the details of national security issues.”
This isn’t the first time a Government Accountability Institute study has caused controversy. In July, a GAI analysis of President Obama’s calendar found that the president has spent just 412 hours in economic meetings of any kind throughout his presidency versus the over 600 hours he’s spent golfing.
"The numbers are the numbers," says Peter Schweizer. "We just investigate the facts and report them. Citizens will interpret what they mean for themselves."