It varies from president to president, but the task usually falls to the national security adviser or the chief of staff. In the White House, a small team of "watch officers" - drawn from the CIA, the military, and the State Department - keeps an eye on incoming news and intelligence reports 24 hours a day. If something important comes up during the graveyard shift, the watch officer in charge gets in contact with the national security adviser or chief of staff, either via their deputies or a with a direct phone call. The watch officers typically have standing instructions on what sort of news merits a wake-up; President Bush's chief of staff, Andrew Card, for example, has said he wants to be awakened for any overseas incident in which Americans are killed.I'm guessing Card really meant to say that any Americans who aren't in the military. Otherwise, Andy isn't getting a helluva lot of sleep these days.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Having a war in Iraq is like having your baby teething
Interesting little Explainer on Slate today pertaining to the decision process involved with waking the President in the middle of the night: