The President's Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America's Presidents from Kennedy to Obama (Paperback)David Priess (author)
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"One of the most interesting, exhilarating, and informative aspects of the presidency was my time with the CIA analysts and my PDB briefers." -George W. Bush, correspondence with the author, November 2012.
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 to long-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.
It is a story that could only be told by a trusted insider. David Priess served during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations as an award-winning intelligence officer, manager and daily intelligence briefer at the CIA. The CIA, despite its mission of secrecy, has diligently declassified and posted millions of pages of raw intelligence reports, analytic assessments, and memos from the late 1940s through the 1980s. These agency papers have been awaiting examination in a nondescript corner of the CIA's public website. Many more sit on an antiquated database terminal at the National Archives annex in College Park, Maryland.
Few people know such documents exist. Fewer still have made the effort to dig through them as Priess has, hauling in never-before-revealed insights about the PDB. The information base for this book includes largely untapped oral histories, memoirs from PDB recipients and intelligence leaders, publicly released CIA internal studies, and tidbits about key personalities and locations from previously published works.
Publisher: INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US
Number of pages: 400
Weight: 422 g
Dimensions: 231 x 160 x 28 mm
"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
"At times as entertaining as it is informative, Priess' book is neither a dry academic exercise nor a sensational tell-all expose, but is instead a thoughtful and revealing peek behind the scenes of what goes on between the President and the keepers of the nation's secrets."--Mark McLaughlin, DC Examiner
"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 Affair
"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
"A welcome change of pace from the traditional spy yarn or tell-all books that dominate the intelligence literature today. Priess' work makes an invaluable contribution to the study of intelligence, which no library on national security is complete without...Priess's prose is highly readable, fast paced, more interesting and even suspenseful than many readers might expect when given a story about analysts doing their work. Priess is an exceptional raconteur, and his style makes characters come alive on the page."--The Cipher Brief
"Turns the potentially dour history of the president's daily intelligence briefing into a stimulating, if uncritical, account... Readers accustomed to CIA skullduggery will be surprised to find it admiringly portrayed as an organization of experts devoted to delivering unbiased information to a grateful president."--Publisher's Weekly
"[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
"This volume provides greater understanding of how presidents' minds operate and dissect information. It also humanizes their decisions by detailing the intricacies of how the PDB is handled. With the September 2015 release of the Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson PDBs, this publication is timely...Recommended for those interested in a different perspective on the U.S. presidency, political scientists, and historians."--Library Journal, starred review
"A fascinating look into the operation of power at the highest levels with many character-rich stories."--Kentucky Forward
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