The President's Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America's Presidents from Kennedy to Obama

By David Priess
Every president has had a unique and complicated relationship with the intelligence community. While some have been coolly distant, even adversarial, others have found their intelligence agencies to be among the most valuable instruments of policy and power.
Since John F. Kennedy s presidency, this relationship has been distilled into a personalized daily report: a short summary of what the intelligence apparatus considers the most crucial information for the president to know that day about global threats and opportunities. This topsecret document is known as the President s Daily Brief, or, within national security circles, simply the Book. Presidents have spent anywhere from a few moments (Richard Nixon) to a healthy part of their day (George W. Bush) consumed by its contents; some (Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush) consider it far and away the most important document they saw on a regular basis while commander in chief.
The details of most PDBs are highly classified, and will remain so for many years. But the process by which the intelligence community develops and presents the Book is a fascinating look into the operation of power at the highest levels. David Priess, a former intelligence officer and daily briefer, has interviewed every living president and vice president as well as more than one hundred others intimately involved with the production and delivery of the president's book of secrets. He offers an unprecedented window into the decision making of every president from Kennedy to Obama, with many characterrich stories revealed here for the first time."


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A welcome change of pace from the traditional spy yarn or tell-all books that dominate the intelligence literature today. Priess work makes an invaluable contribution to the study of intelligence, which no library on national security is complete withoutPriess s prose is highly readable, fast paced, more interesting and even suspenseful than many readers might expect when given a story about analysts doing their work. Priess is an exceptional raconteur, and his style makes characters come alive on the page. "The Cipher Brief" This volume provides greater understanding of how presidents' minds operate and dissect information. It also humanizes their decisions by detailing the intricacies of how the PDB is handled. With the September 2015 release of the Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson PDBs, this publication is timelyRecommended for those interested in a different perspective on the U.S. presidency, political scientists, and historians. "Library Journal" Turns the potentially dour history of the president s daily intelligence briefing into a stimulating, if uncritical, account Readers accustomed to CIA skullduggery will be surprised to find it admiringly portrayed as an organization of experts devoted to delivering unbiased information to a grateful president. "Publishers Weekly" "
Turns the potentially dour history of the president s daily intelligence briefing into a stimulating, if uncritical, account Readers accustomed to CIA skullduggery will be surprised to find it admiringly portrayed as an organization of experts devoted to delivering unbiased information to a grateful president. "Publishers Weekly""




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About the Hardcover

Publisher PublicAffairs
Publish date 03/01/2016
Pages 400
ISBN-13 9781610395953
ISBN-10 1610395956
Language English

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