Fox Pushes Lie That Obama Isn't Receiving His Intel Briefings

Fox is falsely claiming that the day after the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the president “didn't receive a briefing” on the attack in an attempt to resurrect the falsehood that President Obama isn't receiving intelligence briefings.

In fact, Obama did receive a briefing from Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough on September 12. He received additional briefings the following day.

Nevertheless, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade asked Washington Free Beacon senior editor Bill Gertz: Obama “didn't get a briefing on September 12, did he?” Kilmeade also repeated the assertion that Obama has been skipping more than half of his intelligence briefings. Gertz suggested that Obama was letting the campaign get in the way of national security.

But the entire assertion that Obama is not receiving daily intelligence briefings is based on quicksand.

In September, Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen suggested that Obama was not committed to national security because he did not always attend in-person daily intelligence briefings. But Thiessen himself noted in his column that Obama “reads his briefing” on national security every day. And the Post's own fact-checker Glenn Kessler pointed out in response to Thiessen that presidents have often preferred written daily intelligence briefings over oral ones.

Moreover, as Kessler reported, there may be advantages to receiving a written briefing rather than an oral briefing. For instance, if President George W. Bush had read his intelligence briefings, he might have noticed the dissents to the intelligence community's assessment that Iraq had an ongoing weapons of mass destruction program. From Kessler's piece:

Thomas S. Blanton, director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, says that there have been “lots of variation in the briefing patterns” among presidents, with different consequences.

George W. Bush “wanted personal and oral, and that matched CIA's institutional interest in face to face with the president, much better for their bureaucratic politics, but unclear how good it was for presidential decision making,” he said. “On Iraq WMD [weapons of mass destruction], the direct brief was clearly pernicious; reading might have pointed to the dissents, but the briefers did not.”