The Prose Style of Presidential Briefings

THE PROSE STYLE OF PRESIDENTIAL BRIEFINGS….Patrick Belton disagrees with me. Having read lots of presidential briefing documents, he thinks the August 6 PDB compares pretty favorably: “it’s clear, concisely written, and packs a good deal of information into a short memo.”

Point taken. Whether this is good news or bad for the president is another question, of course. If it was that unusually clear and punchy, why didn’t he react more strongly to it?

UPDATE: Of course, there’s another side to this whole issue of how short the memo was, namely that this was apparently the sum total of what we knew about al-Qaeda’s operations in the United States as of August 6, 2001. It really doesn’t speak well for our intelligence gathering, does it?