CIA reveals its secret briefings to Presidents Nixon and Ford

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tags: Hillary Clinton, election 2016, CIA, Nixon, Ford, Trump, intelligence briefings



Tim Naftali, a CNN presidential historian and clinical associate professor of history and public service at NYU, is writing a new biography of President Kennedy. 

In the last few weeks the two presidential nominees have received their initial intelligence briefings. Although the experience must have been different for each -- it was Donald Trump's first, whereas Hillary Clinton is an experienced intelligence consumer -- they were both recipients of a product authorized by President Barack Obama, the intelligence community's most important customer and the official who more than anyone else controls how intelligence is shared inside and outside the US government. 

For years the CIA shielded from public view every single one of the briefings that it produces daily for the president's eyes only, arguing that even letting go one 50-year old briefing could harm national security.

Only in recent years did the CIA revise its traditional stance, releasing in September all of the daily, classified newsletters it had produced for Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. And on Wednesday, the releases continued, with the posting on the Web of the 28,000 pages prepared for Richard Nixon and his successor, Gerald Ford. 

While a considerable amount remains edited out for national security reasons there are some historical gems, which not only hint at how well our intelligence community did in the Cold War but give us decades later a sense of the awesome responsibilities that come with being president. 

Whoever occupies the White House in January will receive a similar product, tailored to his or her interests and designed not only to keep the White House informed but to lower the probability that the president will be surprised. And in this era of international terrorism, the cost of surprise is potentially as high as it was in the worst moments of the Cold War. ...




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