The Washington Post reported on Friday that Trump is the first president in over half-a-century to forgo the President’s Daily Brief (PDB), a written intelligence document compiled primarily by CIA analysts.
President Trump—whose Fox & Friends dependence and accompanying short attention span are hardly secrets—prefers an oral briefing, “according to three people familiar with his briefings.”
The President’s Daily Brief is highly classified, and it’s impossible to know how much detail is lost in its oral translation. But former CIA Director Leon Panetta worries that President Trump will miss important context, to the detriment of national security.
“Something will be missed,” Panetta told the Post. “If for some reason his instincts on what should be done are not backed up by the intelligence because he hasn’t taken the time to read that intel, it increases the risk that he will make a mistake.”
Former CIA director Mark Lowenthal echoed Panetta’s sentiment:
You need to get immersed in a story over its entire course. You can’t just jump into an issue and come up to speed on the actors and the implications. The odds are pretty good that something will arise later on for which he has no intelligence basis for helping him work through it.
In August, VICE News reported that President Trump also twice daily requires so-called “propaganda folders,” containing “screenshots of positive cable news chyrons (those lower-third headlines and crawls), admiring tweets, transcripts of fawning TV interviews, praise-filled news stories, and sometimes just pictures of Trump on TV looking powerful.”
Brendan Gauthier is a freelance writer.