The President's Book of Secrets

The President's Book of Secrets

The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America's Presidents From Kennedy to Obama

Book - 2016
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Baker & Taylor
Reveals the personal stories and world events behind the president's top-secret daily brief of classified intelligence information as collected by CIA spies, NSA listening posts, secretaries of state, and other top-ranking officials.

Perseus Publishing
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 top-secret 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 character-rich stories revealed here for the first time.

Book News
The information presented in The President’s Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America’s Presidents revolves around a little-known daily report--the President’s Daily Brief, or the PDB. The genesis of the PDB occurred in the mid-sixties and continues today. Although its delivery and format varies according to the preferences of each administration, what is known as “the Book” contains the most sensitive intelligence information and analysis in the world. The topics at the heart of this book includes not the substance of the information, but the personalities of its producers, readers, and reviewers; the process of its creation and delivery; and its role in our nation’s daily security work. Annotation ©2016 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

A behind-the-scenes tour of the world behind the top-secret President's Daily Brief of classified intelligence information as collected by America's CIA spies, NSA listening posts, secretaries of state and other top-ranking officials reveals the personal stories and world events behind its maintenance.
"Every day, a member of the CIA presents to the president a report detailing the most sensitive activities and analysis of world events. These can range from the behavior of America's allies to the maneuvering of its adversaries, from imminent dangers tolong-term strategic opportunities, and are often based on the words of highly placed sources or the interceptions of astonishingly nimble technologies. This report--for the president's eyes only--forms the basis of the president's assessment of US intelligence and strength. The story of the President's Daily Brief--the PDB, in the jargon--is a window into the character of each president and his administration, and the degree to which his worldview and policy was shaped by the information from the security services"--

Publisher: New York : PublicAffairs, [2016]
Edition: First Edition
ISBN: 9781610395953
Branch Call Number: 327.1273 P9332p 2016
Characteristics: xiii, 384 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Mar 08, 2016

I haven't read this book yet, but I do realize that the author served during the two most sketchy administrations regarding intel failures: the Clinton and Bush #2 administrations. I also recall that over one thousand CIA personnel went to Capitol Hill to protest the proposed appointment of Robert Gates to be CIA director [during the Reagan administration, I believe] as Gates had a reputation for spinning the intel reports - - Gates also predicted, when others were stating the opposite, that the Soviet Union would never crumble!


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