Obama’s press team frequently says, “President Obama only learned about this from the news media.” Now, if this was the final score in an NBA game, that’s plausible.
Frequently, however, this is in response to world affairs that affect our country and our security daily. This should not happen.
The President has access to daily updates on what is occurring globally, if he takes an interest. Besides his close advisers, he has the entire resources of the federal agencies under his purview.
Traditionally, the President has a “Daily Intelligence Briefing” which can be a presentation and discussion with appropriate intelligence personnel which should make him the most informed, up-to-date individual on the planet. The key word is “daily”.
Despite an occasional failure to connect the dots, this is an evaluation of the world situation that is second to none.
The intelligence community also reports to Congress both in open and closed session both as an informative and an oversight function. Congress has received information from the intelligence community that IS was becoming a significant threat for about a year.
If a President doesn’t fail to stay informed, there is nothing of international consequence he won’t know well ahead of the news media.
If the President and his minions don’t put an ideological filter on what he is told, there is nothing of international consequence he won’t know well ahead of the news media.
However, when a President ignores problems because they are not on his ideological agenda, and/or because he is physically present at only 42% of his Daily Intelligence Briefings, the rapid rise of the Islamic State (IS) might be underestimated.
Is it more likely that the intelligence community did not share this with Obama, or that he ignored or failed to access that information?