Sept. 20, 2016
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Former CIA intelligence officer and Illinois Wesleyan University alumnus David Priess '93 will speak Oct. 3 about his book The President's Book of Secrets, a behind-the-scenes look at the production of the President's Daily Brief (PDB). The PDB is a top-secret summary of the most pressing international events and delivered daily to the President of the United States.
Priess will discuss his book at 4 p.m. Oct. 3 in the Hansen Student Center. The event is free and open to the public.
The PDB is compiled by intelligence analysts sifting through a mass of information – reports from CIA spies, listening posts of the National Security Agency and photos from the National Reconnaissance Office – to compile an assessment that is usually no longer than a single page. As an intelligence officer, manager and daily intelligence briefer, Priess wrote many PDB items for two presidents – Bill Clinton and George W. Bush – and personally briefed the attorney general and FBI director in the Bush administration. He was a manager of analysts covering a "high-interest" Middle Eastern country. Even today, years after Priess left the CIA, he's not allowed to say which country.
The President's Daily Brief "has influenced the most momentous foreign policy decisions of the past 50 years, and yet it has remained largely unknown outside national security circles," Priess is quoted in the spring 2016 issue of IWU Magazine. He wrote the book to give the public a glimpse into the "little-understood world of daily intelligence."
Since the book's release in March, Priess has given interviews about his book and offered commentary on intelligence briefings for presidential candidates to cable news programs, political websites and major newspapers across the country. He's made presentations at presidential libraries and the International Spy Museum.
After graduating from Illinois Wesleyan with a major in political science, Priess earned a Ph.D. from Duke University. Priess is now director of analytic services for a Virginia-based consulting firm offering training, mentoring and consulting to the intelligence community, government and the private sector.