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.
"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"--
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