It may be the most exclusive "app" yet: the president’s daily intelligence brief.
A photo posted recently on the Web site of the director of national intelligence shows President Obama swiping an iPad screen during his daily update on key international developments and U.S. intelligence operations unfolding overseas.
The photo was taken Jan. 31, which officials said was the first day that an iPad was used to deliver portions of what is known in intelligence circles as the “PDB.” The Oval Office appearance of the record-selling digital tablet was noted at the time by Apple fans who spotted the device in the photo when it was first posted on the White House Web site.
Shawn Turner, a spokesman for National Intelligence Director James R. Clapper, said the tablet computer has been used several times since then to deliver information to the commander in chief, allowing analysts to add video and audio clips and interactive graphics.
“Tablet computers represent a great alternative to the briefing book and will likely be used more frequently in the future,” Turner said, describing it as a “convenient and secure way to depict multimedia information in the PDB.”
That daily brief has traditionally been one of the most closely held documents in Washington, seen only by the president and his inner circle. To keep it that way, the wireless capabilities of the device used in the Oval Office are disabled, Turner said.
In the photo, Obama is sitting to the left of Robert Cardillo, deputy director of national intelligence for intelligence integration. Their screens aren’t visible, but it’s pretty clear they aren’t playing Angry Birds.
The photo was posted one day after the federal government sued Apple for alleged price-fixing in the e-book market. Turner made it clear that the photo of an iPad-toting president wasn’t meant as an endorsement.
“While it’s somewhat obvious what brand of computer is being used,” Turner said, the intelligence community “will evaluate the range of products out there to determine what best meets our needs.”