On Tuesday night, the three major broadcast networks omitted from their coverage on the Islamic group ISIS a report that President Barack Obama has received briefings on the terrorist organization “for at least a year before the group seized large swaths of territory over the summer.”
ABC, CBS, and NBC all led their evening newscasts with multiple segments on the gruesome murder of American journalist Stephen Sotloff at the hands of ISIS in a propaganda video released on Tuesday afternoon. Over on the Fox News Channel (FNC), Special Report with Bret Baier aired three segments on the story, including a report from chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
Herridge, who first reported the news earlier during the day on Tuesday, cited “a former Pentagon official” who said that what the President received in the President’s Daily Brief (PDB) on intelligence matters was “strong and ‘granular’ in detail” regarding the threat ISIS posed.
In addition, the official said that “a policymaker,” such as the President, would be unable to “come away with any other impression: This is getting bad.”
Here’s more from an article by Herridge that was published on FNC’s website:
Obama, unlike his predecessors who traditionally had the document briefed to them, is known to personally read the daily brief. The former Pentagon official, who has knowledge of the process, said Obama generally was not known to come back to the intelligence community with further requests for information based on the daily report.
The claims come as the Obama administration continues to launch airstrikes against Islamic State targets in northern Iraq and weighs whether to expand that campaign, particularly into Syria.
The president’s team has publicly suggested that the group only recently gained in strength, accounting for why Obama earlier this year dismissed such extremists as akin to a “JV” team.
But after suggestions that the administration may have been blindsided by the rise of ISIS, and that poor intelligence was to blame, the former Pentagon official said some of the intelligence was so good in the region, that when the president drew a red line on chemical weapons use in Syria in 2012, the information was “exquisite.”
The source said “[we] were ready to fire, on a moment’s notice, on a couple hundred targets,” but no order was given. In some cases, targets were tracked for a “long period of time” but then slipped away.
The execution of Sotloff comes two weeks after another American journalist, James Foley, was murdered in a video released by the group and included a threat that Sotloff would be killed if President Obama did not cease U.S. air strikes against ISIS targets in Iraq.