Marc Thiessen was a speechwriter for President George W. Bush. He also wrote speeches for Donald Rumsfeld when he was Secretary of Defense. He’s the author of a book (I hesitate to call it ‘non-fiction’) entitled Courting Disaster; How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack. In part, the book argues that the use of torture (redefined as ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’) is legal, moral and effective. Thiessen is associated with the Government Accountability Institute, which is a conservative group that claims to investigate government fraud. He also writes opinion pieces published in the Washington Post.
Recently the Government Accountability Institute issued a report claiming President Obama has ‘skipped half of his intelligence briefings.’ That claim is based on the number of times the president, after reading his daily intelligence briefing, decided he didn’t need a more detailed in-person follow-up briefing. Let me clear about this: there were, in fact, NO skipped briefings; there were only briefings that were sufficiently clear that President Obama didn’t require any additional information.
Thiessen, in a recent Washington Post opinion piece, repeated the ‘Obama skipped half of his intelligence briefings’ claim. Thiessen not only neglected to report the facts on which the misleading claim is made, he failed to note his relationship with the group that made the claim. Right wing bloggers picked up the claim and began to repeat it, without bothering to check its accuracy. American Crossroads SuperPAC, one of Karl Rove’s political attack machines, featured the claim in a pro-Romney campaign advertisement, noting the Washington Post as the source in order to validate the claim. Bloggers, right wing pundits, and contributors to FOXNews began to complain that the ‘mainstream press’ was deliberately ignoring the story.
And now there is a portion of the U.S. population who believes President Obama actually skipped half of his intelligence briefings.
If you ever wonder why a third of the Republican Party believes the president is a secret Muslim, or that he’s a socialist, or that he was born in Kenya — this is why. This is how the Republican Party works these days.