President intel briefing 'vague, alarmist'

April 3, 2005 at 10:24 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 3 (UPI) -- The daily intelligence briefing given the president is too vague and of little value, the authors of the latest report on intelligence failures say.

Former Sen. Chuck Robb, D-Va., one of the chairmen of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, said that senior officials read the document only to find out what "was going to drive the president's schedule on a given day, and ... to be prepared for that."

The briefings were "alarmist," according to the commission's report, and, by constant repetition of the same information, "left an impression of many corroborating reports, when in fact there were very few sources."

Robb and his co-chair, Judge Laurence Silberman, made their comments in an interview over the weekend with the New York Times.

The President's Daily Brief, described to United Press International last year by one official as "the crown jewels" of the nation's intelligence agencies, is circulated to a handful of senior officials.

Last week's report of the weapons of mass destruction commission is the second time that the daily brief has been criticized by panel's probing the nation's espionage bureaucracy.

The Sept. 11 commission found last year that a crucial daily brief about the al-Qaida threat, delivered on Aug. 6, 2001, just weeks before the suicide hijackers struck, contained much information that was inaccurate, outdated or misleading.

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