On an index card please

Well, this is what you get when you have a head of state who is

  • lazy
  • stupid
  • undisciplined
  • indifferent

You get a head of state who refuses to read intelligence briefings.

Trump has opted to rely on an oral briefing of select intelligence issues in the Oval Office rather than getting the full written document delivered to review separately each day, according to three people familiar with his briefings.

Reading the traditionally dense intelligence book is not Trump’s preferred “style of learning,” according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

Good joke. “Style of learning” of course means “taste in tv channels.” Learning is not a thing Donald Trump does.

Soon after Trump took office, analysts sought to tailor their intelligence sessions for a president with a famously short attention span, who is known for taking in much of his information from conservative Fox News Channel hosts. The oral briefings were augmented with photos, videos and graphics.

After several months, Trump made clear he was not interested in reviewing a personal copy of the written intelligence report known as the PDB, a highly classified summary prepared before dawn to provide the president with the best update on the world’s events, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

Of course he’s not interested in reviewing it. It’s not interesting to him – it’s not about him. God forbid he should do anything he’s not interested in.

Michael Anton, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said Trump “is an avid consumer of intelligence, appreciates the hard work of his briefers and of the entire intelligence community and looks forward every day to the give and take of his intelligence briefings.”

Frankly, that sounds like the way people talk about someone with fairly advanced Alzheimer’s. “He looks forward to lunch every day.”

Several intelligence experts said that the president’s aversion to diving deeper into written intelligence details — the “homework” that past presidents have done to familiarize themselves with foreign policy and national security — makes both him and the country more vulnerable.

What is this “homework” of which you speak?

The top-secret intelligence report, which dates in its current form to the Johnson administration, is made up of individual “articles” written by career analysts, mostly from the CIA. The PDB is so tightly controlled that intelligence officials maintain a log to record when the briefers provide a copy of the document to a principal and when they retrieve it, several officials said.

Rob Porter was seeing it, up until he resigned two days ago. No security clearance, but he was seeing it, because the Staff Secretary does.

Aides say Trump receives his in-person intelligence briefing nearly every day, although his publicly released schedules indicate that the sessions have been taking place about every two to three days on average in recent months, typically around 11 a.m.

After he’s watched his five or six hours of Fox and Friends.

One senior White House official described the Oval Office briefing as a distilled version of the sessions that senior administration officials receive earlier in the day. CIA Director Mike Pompeo usually attends the session, as does Coats.

During Trump’s briefing, a veteran intelligence official typically describes intelligence highlights contained in a shortened, written version of the PDB. Trump has rarely, if ever, requested that the document be left behind for him to read, according to people familiar with the meetings.

He might as well be a doll they wheel out for public occasions.

Pompeo has said the president is briefed on current developments, as well as upcoming events — such as visits by foreign leaders — and longer-term strategic issues.

He has to know about the visits, because he has to go to that place with the wide armchairs and sit in his on the toilet position while the cameras go click click click.

Trump’s admirers say he has a unique ability to cut through conventional foreign policy wisdom and ask questions that others have long taken for granted. “Why are we even in Somalia?” or “Why can’t I just pull out of Afghanistan?” he will ask, according to officials.

Ah yes, the Wise Child routine. He’s like the Buddha. He has a unique ability to be so ignorant of the world around him and the country he claimed the right to govern that he asks questions a child of four would ask. “Why is there even homework?” “Why does it have to be raining today?” “Why can’t I eat the whole box?” “Why can’t I drive the car?”

Another person familiar with the briefing process said that, at times, Trump has been dismissive of his briefers. He has shaken his head, frowned and complained that the briefers were “talking down to him,” this person said.

He has pouted, scowled, kicked the furniture, thrown the briefing out the window, flung himself down on the carpet and screamed. How dare the briefers “talk down to him” just because they know their subject and he knows nothing but what Fox tells him?

Trump indicated early on that he had little interest in immersing himself in detailed intelligence documents.

“I like bullets or I like as little as possible. I don’t need, you know, 200-page reports on something that can be handled on a page,” he told Axios shortly before taking office.

Of course he does. He likes as little as possible of everything except golf, rape, and showing off to adoring crowds.

“He often goes off on tangents during the briefing and you’d have to rein him back in,” one official said.

As people with immature or tau-riddled brains so often do.

8 Responses to “On an index card please”

Leave a Comment

Subscribe without commenting