- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1 edition (March 1, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1610395956
- ISBN-13: 978-1610395953
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The President's Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America's Presidents from Kennedy to Obama 1st Edition
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An authoritative yet easily read book about an important part of the president's daily routine. [Priess] has successfully enlivened the work with myriad first-person accounts from former presidents down to the folks who have written the PDB articles. A CIA review of the manuscript ensured that classified material was not included, but Priess gives the reader plenty of substance to go with details of the process. As a result, The President's Book of Secrets offers a previously untold story about one of those closely guarded, eyes-only' facets of the intelligence world.” Michael K. Bohn, Tribune News Service
In The President's Book of Secrets, David Priess succeeds in lifting up the curtain on the personalities behind national security and how the government's leading analysts bend to those characters to fulfill their duty.” Charged Affairs
[Priess] deftly sketches the evolution of this daily intelligence digest, along with the twists and turns of policy, personalities and power plays Anyone interested in how decisions get made by the most powerful person in the most powerful country in the world will relish the details in The President's Book of Secrets.” Wall Street Journal
David Priess, a CIA officer who served as a daily intelligence briefer during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, has written a thoroughly engaging account of how The Book,' as it is known in Agency parlance, came into existence, and how presidents used (or ignored) it.” The Washington Times
David Priess, a former CIA officer, has lifted the veil on the process and substance of creating the PDB in his readable and well-researched volume, The President's Book of Secrets providing insights not only into modern American presidents and their approaches to working with intelligence products but also the attitudes of senior officials to the products. Those insights are an interesting addition to the historical record on U.S. foreign policy.” Jack Caravelli, The Washington Free Beacon
An important addition to the body of academic works on national security. It offers a unique look into the people and processes that impacted and continue to shape the course of history. In lifting the veil, Priess gives readers not just a close look at a key product that influences the choices of those in the White House, but the inner workings of government itself.” Proceedings
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Top Customer Reviews
The book starts off with a Foreword by President George H. W. Bush, stating that his love of the position as Director of the CIA, was “All about the remarkable men and women who make up our intelligence community. Their dedication, their courage, and their determination match that of no others and inspired me every single day.”
President Bush further details “That their names are seldom known and their accomplishments are rarely celebrated.”
Every single day, a CIA officer starts their day around 2 a.m. at CIA headquarters speaking with various analysts from the seventeen organizations that make up the “Intelligence Community.” They study the late breaking raw assessments and even classified stories that did not make it past their editors and tucks it away in a locked briefcase and then travel to the White House to deliver a summary of international events.
This is called the Presidential Daily Brief and it contains the very latest and most sensitive reporting of the intelligence community. This can vary from what is transpiring within the Central Intelligence agency to the National Security Agency, our satellites and anything in between.
For the past fifty years, starting with President Truman and traveling throughout generations of previous presidents up to today. Some presidents chose not to use it, such as Kennedy and some rely heavily on it, but it has evolved into what it is today, an absolute necessity.
This top secret information is known as the President’s Daily Brief, or simply the “Book” or “The Book of Secrets.” While some Presidents didn’t care for it, some other Presidents were consumed by it. Although the details of the “Book” are highly classified, Priess interviewed every living president and vice president and hundreds of people that were closely involved with the production of it. He takes us on a journey throughout history, highlighting various Presidents and how they viewed or used their “Book of Secrets.”
This book, unfortunately is not a view of the secrets contained within, but more of a look into how each President used and disseminated the information, during their presidency.
Priess recounts and takes us through the origins of the intelligence community, such as when President Roosevelt first started us in the intelligence field with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the Office of Research and Analysis (R&A), which really started the compiling of our intelligence gathering into reports. He tells how President Truman created the Central Intelligence Group (CIG) and how they created the “Daily Summary” report.
He furthers goes on to explain that from that era, right up until 2005, that Directors of Central Intelligence (DCIs) managed the intelligence community and the CIA. That with the Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act, came an effective splitting these duties to create a Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and a Director of the CIA (DCIA)
Priess tells us that for the most time, the book had been an inside secret to the inner sanctum, while a mystery to most people. this changed with President Obama, due to the media scrutiny of how he chose to use it at irregular intervals, instead of a true daily briefing with the intelligence community, as it was intended.
It was an easy read of my Advanced Readers Copy of this book and it was very interesting as I yanked through the pages, yearning for more details or even a hint of secrets. I enjoyed it very much and I look forward to attending his local signing of my book, next month, when he does his book tour for the release.