WWL>Topics>>7-29 7am Tommy, Presidents and national security/intelligence

7-29 7am Tommy, Presidents and national security/intelligence

Jul 29, 2016|

Tommy talks to David Priess, a former CIA analyst, maanger, and intelligence briefer, author of "The President's Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America's Presidents from Kennedy to Obama."

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

You know once again and we leave. When things are going and fine when I realize the dangers that police officers go through because you know we don't really hear about it we know what happened in Jefferson Parish. San Diego police officer two of them were shot one kill one in serious condition during quote. Routine traffic stop non Italian and our non. Of those we're talking about the nation's security. When we come back and you know the oddest things happen to me and I bought a pair of shorts about two months ago. And I finally get around to Wear them and I think perhaps you know when you buy substance sometimes and you go to walk out the deal alarms go off and gadget you just checked out Soledad no good you're you're good go but to put shorts on apparently forgot to remove this white plastic. Magnet little thing that anti theft device sensor. Which the shorts are not that expensive some surprise that they're that concerned but. I don't have the receipt I paid cash for these ninth through the receipt away so I'm wonder I'm going to. Take these back. And ask him to take the anti theft saying all without it appearing as though AIG shop lifted these can you take this all at least recently wanna do. There are some on an old. Played around and get it done and hoping you can take those off because I think they explode in and let me tell you don't they monitored. Maybe leave it alone owes us say leave it outside. Somewhere and then go in get the manager and then come and I don't. Come outside and just. I. Ache about the Mike Garland a serious side. Sandy rightly in my and eat these shorts you know by the way the today selling Bart Simpson. We'll be back. Talking about presidential secret but seriously David I wonder what. After Donald Trump gets his security briefing if there will be a change in his demeanor. And his eyes wide open scene really. I didn't know that. Wolf will get a guest coming up to David Price who used to give. Intelligence briefings to president. And he's got a book out to be very interesting stick around Tommy Tucker 712 but he lettuce and it's Friday morning at seven W. 716 we're gonna. Delve into a fascinating topic here handle these gentlemen has some time force because. I have some questions some of which may be perceived as dumb but it's numbers not me before. David priests joins us former CIA analyst manager. And intelligence briefer. All author of the president's book of secrets the untold story of intelligence briefings. In America's presidents from Kennedy to Obama good morning David good morning. It is so nice of you to take the time to come on tell me about the book first. Yeah sure this book is called the president's book of secrets and that refers to the president's daily brief this is the document that every president since Lyndon Johnson has received every morning from his intelligence services that contains. Top secret classified analysis of world events to help reduce the uncertainty when making national security decisions. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are set to get theirs today Hillary Clinton. As secretary of state obviously I've resume would have while she was secretaries state we have been receiving these same briefings or not. Sure when she was secretary of state she was one of the small handful people that the president allowed to also received his president. Daily brief and that's an amateur history each president has allowed anywhere from quarter to two a few dozen other people to read it. But the briefing that the candidates will be getting will not actually include the president's. The daily brief that it is too sensitive to secrets instead. Trumpet and Clinton will be getting in the coming days or weeks. General classified briefings that is overuse. Of the world affairs polling from classified information that not including. These super sensitive material that goes into that PDB. I would presume at some point though Hillary Clinton had been cleared to receive that kind of thing. Absolutely as secretary of state or what almost five years he received. He deeply. Every working day the same way that President Obama did should receive that information she would've interacted with that ask questions based on it. And certainly very familiar with the process of classified intelligence of course the French that's been thrown into the process is the FBI director's statement that. She was careless. Reckless with classified information that that changes things we've never had a case where. In an election and one of the presidential candidates. Has been chastised by the FBI director for handling classified information so that changes things that. Donald Trump in terms of I guess he had to go through lord knows what kind of investigation approve that eased. And trustworthy has no ties with the Kremlin what have you and I'm not trying to make his political and his asking practically speaking. The fact that he is given a security briefing does that. In a way. Further vet candidates is that so that's cons way asking but I think you know where I'm going to. Yeah in fact it's it's the opposite that by virtue of being nominated by major party for president of tradition has held first on the seventy years. That these people get a general purpose intelligence briefing offered to them by the president. To the best of my knowledge there is no special security spending there's no clearance process. It's by the fact that they may be elected to the most powerful position in the land. It's certain wave back with Harry Truman. Because he came into office where and Franklin Roosevelt side. Truman had not been let into any national security conversations with the president during their short time together. He didn't even know about the Manhattan Project the proper atomic bomb into existence. There he was as president fighting a war. And he felt like he was starting way behind so he wanted to make the candidates got some kind of a briefing not only for that purpose also to make sure they didn't say something. Galactic police stupid during the presidential campaign. That would make it difficult for national security or afford them if they became president or for the sitting president for that matter. So the presumption is that. Throughout the campaign process somehow the opposition would have done enough research. To vet them and if there had been a problem it would have come out through the political process. You know I'm trying to imagine a case where. A president would decide not to allow these precinct and maybe it would have to be something obvious where the Kennedy were. Somehow though. Explicitly definitively linked to a foreign intelligence or something like that. Without that the presumption is that as a nominee by a major party they get this general purpose classified intelligence briefing to dip in the overview. Now again. This is not crown jewels these candidates are not going to be getting in the news briefings coming up. They're not going to be getting details about Covert actions overseas sensitive operations lives are at stake. They're not going to be getting information about the CIA's spies the actual sources that are providing the classified information. Nor the methods by which that information is acquired. Instead it's going to be assessments. Of what's going on around the world pulling on classified information. But not giving them all the details that would be most sensitive. When do they find out about Roswell in the aliens. I accept that tell you what for the book that I that the president's book of secrets I went into the archives of most of the presidential libraries. I interviewed all of the living ex presidents all of the living ex vice presidents and most of the CIA directors and national security advisors and others who had been around. The president's daily brief. In an all that research and all the documentation. I found nothing of interest on that topic at all seems to me that the Deke prosecution operation blue book and other things like that. Have opened up just about everything we have on net and I got to tell yet if there's more on it. It certainly wasn't being written not in the president's daily brief at least not in the ones that have been declassified from the sixties and seventies. David I'll be sick around in and out semi a signed copy of the book is sounds like a fascinating read my David Kris. There's Eric yet David freeze former CIA analyst manager and intelligence briefer author of the president's book of secrets with this talking about. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton receiving their security briefing today. For the first time and if you would like to weigh in on the conversation any comments or questions. You can text then 8787. You can always call us to. At 5042601878723. Time now traffic on the evidently well. Tommy Tucker delighted to have David priests on whether he's a former CIA analyst. Manager intelligence brief there briefer rather an off of the author of the president's book of secrets. The untold story of intelligence briefings to America's presidents from Kennedy to Obama and of course candidates. Clinton and trump will get differs security briefings today but again David for people have just tuned in. It's more then most know but not everything the president knows. You know that you decorate it is they classified briefing it doesn't include top secret information information that. By definition could cause exceptionally grave damage to national security if it's getting into the wrong hands. So it is a more informed view about what's going on let's say. In Syria or in Iraq or in Libya or in North Korea than the average person would see. But it is not including the most sensitive information about intelligence that only comes wherein the president becomes the president elect after the election. Then the tradition has been at the sitting president on one knows he seemed to be president to start receiving that president's statement pre. Yeah it's kind of hard to look at this outside of a political prism because we're talking about candidates that are running for the nation's highest office and and now the Democrats are trying to guess countered that the problems that ms. Clinton's head whip with security in and we you know James Tommy. Taken to task bid saying it wasn't criminal etc. I think everybody knows that but now the Democrats are trying to say Donald Trump should receive them because of his. Comment about the Russians and missing emails. Etc. it would have to be something pretty egregious I would think. At this point from up president to deny a one candidate or the other right where. If you've got that right this is this is unprecedented this year these briefings have gone on for candidates almost every year of the candidates have accepted. Since the 1950s. And they rarely received any attention at all. In the last few elections cycles there been brief mentions of it for example Tony twelve. Mitt Romney receive one intelligence briefing in Los Angeles then about a week later he had another one. Near Washington DC. And the only news that came out about it was they met there met for about two hours. That was that there was no. No of course there's controversy he got called on both sides of the title for the candidate on the opposite side of the all. To not be given the briefing. 441 of these reasons the interesting thing is that the director of national intelligence. And that's right now Jim clapper. He was at the Aspen forum yesterday and people were asking him about this and he made clear the intelligence briefings are going forward. There are still in train they're still on track. The president has delegated to him. The logistics of the briefings working with the campaigns where they'll do them and classifieds space that convenient for the candidate at all. But the level of attention to the point that the director of intelligence is being asked in a public forum about these briefings. Is simply remarkable. I would take a break for news or David's been nice enough to spend the hour wind as the name of the book is. The president's book of secrets the untold story of intelligence briefings to America's presidents from Kennedy to Obama. And I believe you interviewed every living. How does they go David. Ever having ex president and ex vice president did not talk to President Obama and Vice President Biden but all of their predecessors source around I got information from for the book. I Ian and perhaps you'll share some servers was this about those interviews about it's fascinating. 730 more when we come back right now time for double WL first news and for that. We go to David Blake I David Blake we're gonna come back and continue our conversation and onions and taxiing fascinating topic and it really is Donald Trump. And Hillary Clinton get their first security briefings. And we're talking that today we're talking to David priests of former CIA analyst manager and intelligence briefer. And he wrote a book. Called the president's book of secrets the untold story of intelligence briefings. To America's presidents from can be dual bombing he has interviewed all of the living presidents and vice president's. Except for President Obama and vice president bite night believes I'm sure there be some interesting stories there and if yet. Any comments or questions about the process would love to here for an you know much in the video the Democratic Convention last night and it happens with the Republicans I guess it's because. You're there on stage you don't really know what to do when you wanna look animated. But they always look up and pointed the balloons falling from the ceiling idea is though at some kind of magic. Or something. And those balloons have been up there in a nano week always you know look there's. Oh and then there's some confetti and will be backed it up. I got 743 Tommy Tucker double WL talking to David priest former CIA analyst to manager and intelligence briefer. And he's written a book called the president's book of secrets the untold. Serena intelligence briefings to America's presidents from Kennedy to Obama and David I presume that's available in all the usual eloquence. It is Amazon has it of course most bookstores have it out on the shelves. And look forward to people read it and let me know what to think about the stories and. I tell you what if what if if this conversation is any indication I can't wait to read it we're talking about Donald Trump of course Hillary could mean Clinton getting their best. First rather slow down I want to get as much Dottie is like and David getting their first security briefings today and if you just joined us it's not the the keys of the king memory or anything but it does include some top secret information. In terms of daily briefings does the vice president getting briefed as well orders that I need to know saying only. Yeah when it comes to the president's daily brief the president book of secrets that the book is titled for. Traditionally the vice president have received that but that hasn't always been the case in fact. The predecessor to the president's daily brief put Colby president's intelligence. Checklists and it was invented. For John F. Kennedy personally and it was geared towards his style. He refused to let vice president Lyndon Johnson even knows that it exists. He kept him completely out of the league so it was quite surprised after that date in Dallas when Johnson suddenly gets his first intelligence briefing from the director of central intelligence. And he presents in this book Colby president's intelligence checklist. He was no dummy he probably figured out pretty quickly that it was not being offered to him earlier. So it's no surprise that within a few years the CIA gave revamped the product we titled it called that the president's daily brief. And certainly can get Johnson's own since that time more often than not vice president have been in the loop. In fact the national security advisor has always been in the loop. And usually people like the secretary of state secretary of defense have also been allowed to read it beyond that. The variance is letter and the similarities. Something about researching the book talking to all of the ex presidents the next vice president and others with learning about these differences between administration. You share some of that with a city canned. Sure yet not shocking that. You thousands of intelligence professionals work very hard pre date to try to inform. The president took hope the national security policy even if they strongly disagree with the politics of that president. There is the eat those in the intelligence community. Responsibility and service to try to help out. My biggest surprises weren't about that my biggest surprise in the research had to do with the human element the humor that sometimes surrounded the president's daily brief. A duty to brief examples. Indeed George HW Bush Administration. You have to remember bush 41 had been director of the CIA and vice president three years before he became president. He not only took intelligence very seriously helping him in the Cold War peacefully and roll back Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. But he also was comfortable enough with intelligence to have a little bit of humor so Wendy in his book there was a prediction of an election in Central America. The CIA analyst are predicting that it was gonna go one way he disagreed and he made a pact with the CIA briefer in the room. The next day the election results came in the president was right the analysts were wrong in the briefer at the pace up he brought an ice cream cone in to the white. To pale. Sells his successor in the White House was Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton didn't have that same familiar with intelligence but over the course of eight years he certainly did get familiar with that and he told me. That you took the book very seriously in an informed him he told me some cases where that happened. But the one that really struck out which means he told me one day it happened to be its fiftieth birthday he opened up the president's daily brief. And it starts reading about crisis after crisis in all corners of the world. And all of them explicitly tied to things he has said or done in the preceding days or weeks. And he shaking his head thinking how can this'll be happening. And it took a while realized that they were pulling his leg they used a fake GDP for his birthday to destabilize. To make it seem as though he had completely messed up the entire world you bet and that's funny. That's me that's kind of power outages that yes that is a very serious product and there's there's nothing more serious than issues. War and peace and national security. But as long as you you've earned credibility by doing that well there's no reason that you can't have good warm relationship with the president bigger rating information. Did you get the indication that. Some presidents like him you mentioned George H. W. Bush of course again the CIA director for awhile but to catch on more quickly than others and I hate to say pay attention Butler actually get a feel for the situations and blue which way they'll idol break etc. Absolutely there's an issue of experience are you familiar with intelligence overall that's one. The others just personal style some people like to read they don't want people to talk to them while they're looking at it document. Some people like to have that conversation they can't read but they prefer to have the dialogue with they prefer this has buried by president. Some presidents Gerald forward for the first year has presidency. Certainly George H. W. Bush. George W. Bush. And intelligent creatures in with that all the time some presidents like President Obama now President Clinton before him. Sometimes had a briefing but some days they. Others never sought in the CIA Europe and intelligence were capable officer they simply read the book with their national security advisor. And then fed questions back to the CIA if they have them these are presidents like. Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan who did not regularly. Receive intelligence briefings but certainly read that we can tell by some marks he made in copies of the GDP is that the CIA historians have looked. Colin do these things generally knew run 34 pages are or what. You know these are there are brief it is in the very name in the president's daily brief we talked about going to president's talked about it coming every day but the brief part. Is usually eight to ten pages but it varies depending on president. Some of them that I founded deep in the archives firm Kennedy and Johnson sometimes they were just one page if that's called president needs to know that day that's what they did. In some cases with longer assessment sort annexes he could run into the dozens of pages but that's very rare. Do these carries it carry any recommendations or is it just okay a snapshot of where we are. And any meets with different people or she meets with different people if it's determined that that's necessary. No that's an important point is the purpose of intelligence at least in the American system the purpose of intelligence is to be he. Ruthlessly objectives that is regardless of what the policy is the intelligence analysts court like they see. And I can be really uncomfortable for president president Lyndon Johnson is getting assessment after assessment. About how old Vietnam was a disaster even as he was trying to make the case Vietnam was getting better. More recently in the second term of George W Bush's administration he was trying to make the case that things in Iraq we're getting better. The objective intelligence analysis coming out what things in Iraq are not getting better. What's interesting is what presidents choose to do about that what they do win they get. Objective intelligence assessing the situation that does not align with where their policies going. In the case of George W. Bush. Yeah actually doubled down on the intelligence and so pushing the intelligence away because he didn't like it was saying he added more intelligence briefings were became known as deep thoughts. Where analysts would come into the White House one on one talking to the president in depth about these issues so that you can get more information about it and continues to themselves. We only have a minute left David I don't mean to sound like an idiot here because I can do it without meaning to but. When it comes to briefings getting you know tight printed whatever. If you wanna go to the movie where somebody look you know rips open the envelope and it's our ex finalist. To feel safe the other day. Somebody hip hop they coordinate all this can't be double blind because the codes. Have to match and somebody has to know perhaps more than the president right at some point. Well traditionally what's happened is it has been printed that CIA headquarters and then delivered by the briefer who has possession of at all times. Delivered the hard copy book to the White House and the need to brief the president handed off to people who keep its secured there. That was wrenching change in recent years is that President Obama has changed the president's daily brief from the book with the ink on paper. To an iPad with electrons on the screen. We shouldn't fool ourselves to very special like not the same as you and I have it home with all connectivity and everything. That does allow things like multi media graphics and it used to be incorporated in the product but. Believe you mean this is one of the most securely capped documents in the world and they're great protections take into its transport into two reading when it's with the cost. We it would relate nears screaming I mean a reduction or but I got to ask you one more question and then yes a lot of this information has to be presented in a historical context doesn't not. Yep yeah and assessment always will have the context how did we get to where we are. For president late in his term they get a lot of that context as they lived for a new president coming in there's going to be a whole lot more background. Get a text comes and one of the U the most interesting guests in a wild bought the book is now thanks for the great listen this morning and appreciated. I can only echo what the with the Texas said thank you David coming battle we get talking and David priest's former CIA analysts manager intelligence brief their. Briefer rather in the name of the book is the president's book of secrets. The untold story of intelligence briefings to America's presidents from Kennedy to Obama 753 time now for draft. Mail when an hour wind. David preaches town and in some tax the name of the bodies president's book of secrets the untold story of intelligence briefings to America's presidents from Kennedy. To Obama bomb Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton get there. The intelligence briefings today in and it's top secret information but it's not. The crown jewels if you will we keys in the kingdom. And I just wonder if there will be a change and I and I say Donald Trump only because Hillary Clinton has gotten them before. As secretary of stayed and I don't know if the world has changed. That. Much in terms of I guess she left sectors they Tony fourteen thinkers winners tenure ended. If as she will be surprises Donald Trump or if either one will be surprised because. When you find out. What's really going on or maybe as part of the process I would imagine candidates hire consultants that have been. In that arena before to give them information. Where maybe you realize it's something you thought you were gonna do you can't do or if you do it. It is going to have some consequences that you didn't intend and didn't realize. So be interesting to see if there's any change in tone or policy or anything like that I think it's if it is it'll be an evolution not revolution and it'll be done in a way. So that either candidate hopes that we don't notice or to take a break come back talk about some saints and Drew Brees Hillary Clinton stop being secretary of state. In Tony thirteen backlash WL.