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Objective Troy Book Front Cover

President's Daily Briefs from Kennedy and Johnson Finally Released (Eight Years After Archive, Professor Larry Berman Lawsuit)

CIA Told Courts the PDB Was Itself an Intelligence Method

9th Circuit Ruled PDBs Could Not Be Withheld as a Class

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 530

Compiled and edited by Tom Blanton and Lauren Harper

Posted September 16, 2015

For further information, contact 202.994.7000, nsarchiv@gwu.edu.

Related materials

 

Freeing the Presidentís Daily Brief
by John Prados

 

CIA relents in secrecy fight on presidential intelligence briefings
The briefings detail reaction to some of the biggest crises of the 1960s.
by Josh Gerstein

 

 

Previously Released PDBs

 

President's Daily Brief, 7 August 1965 (4 pp.), declassified 15 July 1993
Source: Lyndon Baines Johnson Library (Austin, Texas), National Security File, Intelligence Briefings File, obtained by Dr. William Burr.

 

President's Daily Brief, 13 May 1967, (1 p. excerpt), declassified 14 May 1993

 

President's Daily Brief, 16 May 1967 (2 pp. excerpt), declassified 14 May 1993

 

President's Daily Brief, 27 May 1967 (1 p. excerpt), declassified 14 May 1993

 

President's Daily Brief, 5 June 1967 (3 pp. with "Late Items"), declassified 14 May 1993
Compare to FRUS version which omits Nigeria (click here)

 

President's Daily Brief, 6 June 1967 (1 p. excerpt), declassified 14 May 1993

 

President's Daily Brief, 7 June 1967 (1 p. excerpt), declassified 14 May 1993

 

President's Daily Brief, 8 June 1967 (2 pp. excerpt), first page declassified 14 May 1993, "Late Item" page declassified 6 November 1985

 

President's Daily Brief, 9 June 1967 (3 pp.), first two pages declassified 14 May 1993, "Late Item" page declassified 6 November 1985
Source for the above 1967 PDB excerpts: Lyndon Baines Johnson Library (Austin, Texas), National Security Council History, Middle East Crisis, Appendix A, obtained by Dr. William Burr.

 

President's Daily Brief, 1 April 1968 (5 pp.), declassified 21 December 1989
Source: Lyndon Baines Johnson Library (Austin, Texas), National Security File, Intelligence Briefings File, obtained by Dr. William Burr.

 

President's Daily Brief, 25 April 1967
Source: Declassified by the Johnson Library, 10 December 2004

 

President's Daily Brief, 29 May 1967
Source: Declassified by the Johnson Library, 2 December 2004

 

President's Daily Brief, "Subject: Bin Ladin Preparing to Hijack US Aircraft and Other Attacks," 4 December 1998
Source: 9/11 Commission Report, Chapter 4, pp. 128-129

 

President's Daily Brief, "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US," 6 August 2001

 


See Buroker's arguments for withholding PDBs in full (above)

 

See The President's Daily Brief 2 April 1968 (top right) and
The President's Daily Brief 6 August 1965 (bottom right),
finally released in part despite the CIA's earlier dire claims of non-segregablility, September 16, 2015

 

Washington, D.C., September 16, 2015 - Today the CIA and the LBJ Library are releasing online a collection of 2,500 declassified President’s Daily Briefs (PDBs) from the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. The PDBs are Top Secret documents containing the most current and significant intelligence information that the CIA believes that the President needs to know, and are records that CIA Director George Tenet once claimed could never be released for publication “no matter how old or historically significant it may be,” and that White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer described as “the most highly sensitized classified document in the government.”

The release of this collection of PDBs comes eight years after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the National Security Archive and Professor Larry Berman, then a professor of political science at University of California Davis, now based at Georgia State University, in his efforts to obtain the disclosure of two Presidential Daily Briefs written for President Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1960s. Professor Berman and the Archive were represented by Thomas R. Burke and Duffy Carolan of the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP in San Francisco, CA. In its ruling, the Court noted –without viewing the documents– that their disclosure could “reveal protected intelligence sources and methods.” The Court rejected, however, the CIA’s “attempt to create a per se status exemption for PDBs.”

At the time of the 2007 ruling, Archive General Counsel Meredith Fuchs said that while disappointed with the Court’s decision, “Our goal in this litigation was to force the agency to conduct a genuine review and assess the true sensitivity of each document. We hope the Agency will take the Court’s analysis to heart and do the right thing in the future.”


Eight years after Professor Berman filed suit, that genuine review has finally happened. It shows that the CIA's previous dire claims that PDBs were "uniquely sensitive" and non-segregable were untrue.

Today the National Security Archive is proud to post a compilation of our ongoing work to shed light on these important documents. The collection is comprised of dozens of records and the Ninth Circuit Court ruling, which paved the way for today’s disclosure.


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