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A lot has been made about how smart POTUS Obama is. He’s made references in the past, both in the primaries and the campaign about how important our intelligence services are to national security. Sure, there might be problems with it like any large entity (government or private) and when artificial constructs like the Office of the Director for National Intelligence (ODNI) get created in an attempt to fix some of it, other problems are introduced. Having said all that (and a hat tip to the Volgi and Michael Goldfarb), it appears that POTUS Obama didn’t EVEN KNOW about the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) or at least that’s how I’d read his reaction. Had he been familiar, the question wouldn’t be “what exactly this National Geospatial…ahh…do?”. The following is from Ben Smith’s column at Politico:
The video is here (the point below is at about 6:00 into the clip)
Obama: What do you do Walter?
Walter: I work at, uh, NGA, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Obama: Outstanding, how long you been doing that?
Walter: About six years
Obama: You like it?
Walter: I do, keeps me…
Obama: So explain to me exactly what this National Geospatial…uh…
Walter: Uh, we work with, uh, satellite imagery..
Walter: [unintelligible] …support systems, so…
Obama: Sounds like good work.
Walter: Enjoy the weekend.
Obama: Appreciate it.
According to the Defense Department:
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is a Department of Defense combat support agency and a member of the national Intelligence Community (IC). NGA develops imagery and map-based intelligence solutions for U.S. national defense, homeland security and safety of navigation.
NGA provides timely, relevant and accurate geospatial intelligence in support of national security objectives. The term “geospatial intelligence” means the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information to describe, assess and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on the Earth. Geospatial intelligence consists of imagery, imagery intelligence and geospatial (e.g., mapping, charting and geodesy) information.
Guess they’re not getting much airtime in the President’s Daily Brief.
NGA is critical to supporting Homeland Security missions, disaster response (i.e. Katrina, Kentucky ice storms, flooding, fires, etc.), and intelligence for both the Intel Community and the military. You would think he’d know all 16 agencies, particularly the ones of critical importance given the events in the world.
By the way, for those who haven’t been to Five Guys, it’s a great burger joint (providing your cholesterol level isn’t too high) and it’s about the simplest menu int he world. I can’t believe how long it takes President Obama to order a freaking burger ….. Aaaaaa ….. with .. aaaaa .. with ….. aaaaaaa.