THE PRESIDENT'S BOOK OF SECRETSThe 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 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.
I picked this book up not looking for the juicy details of secrets for the Presidents but to learn about the process. That is the mechanism of Presidential decision making. There were few if any secrets. There was lots of information about how choices were made, some wise, some botched for a myriad of reasons. I delayed reading this book till after this years Presidential campaign began in earnest and then delayed it even longer. It became a frightening book to say the very least and the reason is quite simple. I imagined this process and the contents it contains on a day by day basis in the hands of the most unqualified and dangerous MAN in American History to be nominated by a major political party for the Presidency of the United States ever………
Then after the electorate chooses Hillary, go ahead and read this most interesting book, in a calm manner, somewhat,though not perfectly assured, that the fate of our nation rests in reasonably intelligent hands