This. Is. Officially. Nuts. Durrr, I’m with stupid!
Hey guys, me again. Back with some heavy hitting #journalism, taking on all the stories the actual journalists won’t take on, probably because they’re actual journalists. I dunno, someone’s gotta do it though, amirite?
So. The President’s Daily Brief—otherwise known as the President’s Daily Briefing or President’s Daily Bulletin or PDBs if you’re a “Washington Insider” or someone who likes acronyms—is a pretty big deal.
If you’re unfamiliar, according to Wikipedia, it’s...
a Top Secret document produced and given each morning at 07:45 to the President of the United States. Producing and presenting the brief is the responsibility of the Director of National Intelligence, whose office is tasked with fusing intelligence from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other members of the U.S. Intelligence Community. The Brief is also produced for the President-elect of the United States, between the election day, and inauguration.
Sounds pretty serious to me. In fact, as Kurt Eichenwald (journalist) reported back in 2012, the last President who didn’t really really care for those pesky Intelligence Briefings was George W. Bush and the consequences in 2001 were pretty dire:
It was perhaps the most famous presidential briefing in history. On Aug. 6, 2001, President George W. Bush received a classified review of the threats posed by Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, Al Qaeda. That morning’s “presidential daily brief” — the top-secret document prepared by America’s intelligence agencies — featured the now-infamous heading: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” A few weeks later, on 9/11, Al Qaeda accomplished that goal.
Wild. Back to Trump though, I don’t care to litigate the worst terrorist attack in US history in order to make a point about why Presidential Intelligence Briefings are important.
When Chris Wallace asked why Donald Trump had only attended a handful of intelligence briefings since winning the general election, Trump responded:
"I'm, like, a smart person, I don't have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years. Could be eight years — but eight years. I don't need that."
Indeed. He like, clearly knocks it out of the park with that first sentence. Certainly, because the world will surely remain the same for the next eight years, he doesn’t need to hear about it on a daily basis, or ever even! This has of course inspired a response from the sitting President, Barack Obama who remarked:
“It doesn't matter how smart you are if you have to have the best information possible to make the best decisions possible."
Hmmm, okay sure but if ONLY there were some way Barack Obama could possibly know this for certain? Maybe eight years of experience? I don’t know. I think Trump might have a point here. Only smart people get to skip intelligence briefings so President Obama, all his experience, his fancy degrees from Columbia University and Harvard Law School can fuck straight off.
Which brings me back to the original point here. By Trump’s logic, only smart people need to sit for a few intelligence briefings here and there—as necessary, if at all. Because, like, smart people just get complex intelligence stuff right off the bat.
Correct me if i’m wrong, but using Trump’s own logic as to why he doesn’t attend daily intelligence briefings while his counterpart—Mike Pence—who wouldn’t be responsible for making any of the decisions relevant to national security—attends them frequently, is Trump calling Mike Pence an idiot? Is Trump calling Mike Pence stupid? Or worse still, not as smart?
Sound off like you’ve got a pair in the comments section.