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

By David Priess

Each president has had a distinct and complex dating with the intelligence group. whereas a few were coolly far-off, even opposed, others have chanced on their intelligence companies to be one of the most dear tools of coverage and power.

Since John F. Kennedy’s presidency, this dating has been distilled right into a custom-made day-by-day document: a quick precis of what the intelligence gear considers the main the most important info for the president to grasp that day approximately international threats and possibilities. This top–secret rfile is named the President’s day-by-day short, or, inside nationwide safeguard circles, easily “the Book.” Presidents have spent anyplace from a couple of moments (Richard Nixon) to a fit a part of their day (George W. Bush) fed on by way of its contents; a few (Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush) examine it some distance and away crucial record they observed usually whereas commander in chief.

The info of so much PDBs are hugely categorized, and should stay so for a few years. however the strategy in which the intelligence group develops and provides the booklet is an interesting look at the operation of strength on the maximum degrees. David Priess, a former intelligence officer and day-by-day briefer, has interviewed each dwelling president and vice chairman in addition to a couple of hundred others in detail concerned with the construction and supply of the president's e-book of secrets and techniques. He deals an unheard of window into the choice making of each president from Kennedy to Obama, with many character–rich tales printed the following for the 1st time.

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In a CIA review accomplished this week, now we have wrung out the to be had proof and we finish that the enemy isn't attempting to “liberate” those provinces now. in its place, we consider, the Communists wish to create the semblance of “a conflict nobody can win. ” assaults might be aimed toward spreading US forces skinny and conserving them lower than consistent strain with no supplying the chance for a uncomplicated allied victory. We think as much as 5 enemy divisions may possibly now be concerned alongside the sector and within the mountain redoubts to the south. The PDB proved much less valuable in different situations. for instance, analysts discounted box experiences in early 1968 a few major upcoming Viet Cong and North Vietnamese army operation in South Vietnam and hence didn't supply a lot enhance caution of the Tet Offensive, which begun on January 30. Helms says that regardless of Johnson’s anger on the CIA over a few of its Vietnam exams, the president— in contrast to Johnson’s staff—never driven the CIA director to change the Agency’s entire intelligence items to mirror White residence coverage. Many PDB recipients attended the “Tuesday lunches,” Johnson’s special establishment for discussing the location in Vietnam and, sometimes, overseas coverage extra normally. Held within the White House’s deepest eating room beginning in early 1964, those conferences have been much less formal models of nationwide safety Council conferences. Johnson, for instance, excluded vp Hubert Humphrey, a statutory NSC member. The lunches (which, regardless of their identify, weren't regularly hung on Tuesday) gave the president an opportunity to kick coverage principles round with a relied on internal circle together with his nationwide defense consultant, secretary of country, secretary of safety, and some others. Dean Rusk stated that it allowed the president’s closest advisors to speak 52 – the president’s publication of secrets and techniques “in whole self assurance and candor concerning the issues that have been up for selection. ” He discovered them useful simply because “we all can be convinced that everybody round the desk might hold his mouth close and wouldn’t be working off to Georgetown cocktail events and speaking approximately it. ” “The cupboard secretaries knew they continually had entry to the president no less than each week,” famous Bromley Smith. “They knew they couldn’t agenda anything for Tuesday lunch. as soon as whilst one secretary couldn’t come the President cancelled the luncheon. It was once essential to do this just once or two times. the crowd received the purpose. ” Walt Rostow, who succeeded Bundy as nationwide safeguard consultant in April 1966, acknowledged that Johnson prepared to have the director of crucial intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs extra as general participants. Richard Helms grew to become a typical attendee after he succeeded the useless pink Raborn. inside of a 12 months, Helms additionally oversaw the go back to providing the PDB sooner than the president awakened within the morning, sooner than his examining the day-by-day newspapers, according to a White condo request. Dick Lehman, through then OCI director, fortunately obliged—even notwithstanding it intended OCI analysts must submit the e-book by way of 5:00 each morning to make sure it was once on the White residence earlier than sunrise.

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