President Barack Obama tried to reassure the American people from the Oval Office on Sunday evening that he takes the threat of terrorism seriously: “For seven years, I’ve confronted this evolving threat each morning in my intelligence briefing.” However, as the Government Accountability Institute (GAI) has shown, Obama skips more than half of his daily intelligence briefings.
The data comes from the White House itself, which has admitted Obama’s absence but has said he reads the material on his iPad.
In 2012, just before the Benghazi attacks, the GAI released a study covering Obama’s Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) attendance from January 2009 through mid-June 2012. It found that “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. By contrast, Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush almost never missed his daily intelligence meeting.”
In 2014, the GAI released another study, showing Obama’s pattern of absenteeism had continued. As Breitbart News’ Wynton Hall reported:
A new Government Accountability Institute (GAI) report reveals that President Barack Obama has attended only 42.1% of his daily intelligence briefings (known officially as the Presidential Daily Brief, or PDB) in the 2,079 days of his presidency through September 29, 2014.
The GAI report also included a breakdown of Obama’s PDB attendance record between terms; he attended 42.4% of his PDBs in his first term and 41.3% in his second.
Some PDB’s contained information about Islamic State.
When asked about the data, then-National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said it did not matter that Obama skipped briefings. The Washington Post’s Marc Thiessen reported: “Vietor did not dispute the numbers, but said the fact that the president, during a time of war, does not attend his daily intelligence meeting on a daily basis is ‘not particularly interesting or useful.’”