The diplomatic crisis in the Middle East and the tragic killings of American troops by U.S.-trained Afghan security forces has pushed President Obama back to attending his daily intelligence briefings.
Monday marked the second day in a row that the "Presidential Daily Briefing" appeared on his public schedule, the other on Friday. While former President George W. Bush required the CIA to brief him on weekends, Obama doesn't.
The last time he attended back-to-back briefings was September 4-5. He did not attend any in the days leading up to September 11 or for the two days after the U.S. ambassador to Libya was killed and violent protests at American embassies around the world exploded.
On Monday, however, it appeared on the top of his schedule, slated for 9:10 a.m. And while traveling in Ohio, a spokesman told reporters that the president over the weekend called the chiefs of mission at diplomatic facilities throughout the region: Sudan, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen. the spokesman said the president "let those diplomats know that he was thinking about them, that their safety remains a top priority of his...this is something that is on his mind even as he has some responsibilities as a candidate for reelection."
Typically, CIA and other intelligence officials brief the president on diplomatic and war issues around the globe. White House officials said that Obama sometimes receives the information in a briefing paper instead of face-to-face meetings and dismiss criticism that he isn't on top of U.S. intelligence issues.
According to one study, the president has held intelligence briefings for less than half the days he's been in office. The Government Accountability Institute, after reviewing the president's schedules, said that he has attended intelligence briefings just 43.8 percent of his time in office.