Sunday, September 20, 2015

presidential intelligence

The CIA has just released a treasure trove of intelligence products -- 2,500 declassified Top Secret reports
 to the President between June, 1961 and January 1969, when Richard Nixon took office. What's now called the PDB [President's Daily Brief] was called the "pickle" [President's Intelligence Checklist] in the 1960s. Until now, only a few fragments of these reports had ever been declassified, including of course the August 2001 report that terrorists were planning to attack inside the United States.

I've been searching through the reports, looking especially for what the President was told the day of, or the day before, some of the big events of the 1960s.There are still many sections redacted.  [I'm puzzled, for example, why a several-paragraph report on the results of the British elections of 1964 is totally blank. What was so secret then and still now?]

Anybody can play the game, and I hope others will, and will let us know the nuggets they find. My reaction, however, is one of disappointment. Most of the reports are only a few sentences long. Many each day are almost trivial. The "breaking news" items -- when the Berlin wall went up, when Khrushchev was ousted, when the spy ship Pueblo was seized -- seem to contain little top secret information.  The items are terse enough to fit on one of today;s small screens very easily.

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