Politics

Obama To Trump: Pay Attention To Intelligence Briefings

| by Robert Fowler

President Barack Obama has offered some advice to his successor, President-elect Donald Trump: Do not skip your daily intelligence briefings.

On Dec. 12, President Obama appeared on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show." During his interview with host Trevor Noah, Obama responded to Trump's recent dismissal of the necessity to receive daily briefings from the U.S. intelligence community.

"I think the president-elect may say one thing and do another once he's here in the White House," Obama said, reports The Associated Press.

On Dec. 11, Trump dismissed criticism that he had been largely rejecting intelligence briefings, asserting that he found them redundant and that Vice President-elect Mike Pence was already being briefed in his stead.

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"I get it when I need it," Trump told Fox News.

"I'm, like, a smart person," he added. "I don't have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years."

Obama told Noah that this was a mistake, even if intelligence agencies "are not perfect, they would be the first to acknowledge that. If you're not getting their perspective, their detailed perspective, then you are flying blind."

The outgoing president added that any commander-in-chief would be wise to receive the counsel of the "extraordinary, hard-working and patriotic and knowledgeable experts."

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"It doesn't matter how smart you are," Obama concluded. "You have to make the best information possible to make the best decisions possible."

Former President John F. Kennedy was the first commander-in-chief to receive daily intelligence briefings from the CIA.

Former intelligence analyst David Preiss explained to NPR that daily intelligence briefings come in the form of a small book that is "very short, very punchy, small that enough that it could be folded and put into his suit pocket."

Presidents have the discretion to decide who else receives the same intelligence briefing. While former President Richard Nixon had only allowed his national security adviser to share in the briefings, former President George W. Bush had the booklet circulated among his advisers and Cabinet members.

U.S. intelligence veteran Barry Pavel recalled that while Bush preferred having his daily briefings delivered in person, Obama would regularly opt to receive the booklet and digest the information on his own time.

In September 2014, Trump blasted Obama over a disputed report conducted by the Government Accountability Institute, which found that Obama had only sat through 42 percent of his daily briefings over the course of six years. This report did not seem to take into account that Obama preferred to receive his information in book form rather than in a meeting, NBC News reports.

"Fact -- Obama does not read his intelligence briefings nor does he get briefed in person by the CIA or DOD," Trump out. "Too busy I guess!"

Sources: AP via Seattle PI, Fox NewsNBC News, NPR / Photo credit: Erik Drost/Flickr

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