Intelligence to the First Customer

In a symposium held at the LBJ Presidential Library recently, the Central Intelligence Agency released 2,500 previously classified daily briefings created for Presidents Lyndon B.  Johnson and John F. Kennedy in the 1960s.  The President’s Daily Brief (PDB) began as the President’s Intelligence Checklist (PICL) in June of 1961 as a way to keep the President apprised of the world situation and gathered information from multiple intelligence sources with analysis added.  The released documents include a once top-secret  update on President Kennedy’s assassin and classified briefings on the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Tet Offensive in Vietnam.

CIA Director John O. Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper spoke at the public event in Austin celebrating access on the CIA website to PICLs from June 1961 to November 1964 and PDBs from December 1964 through the end of President Johnson’s term in January 1969.  The entry in the President’s Intelligence Checklist for 22 November 1963:

In honor of President Kennedy for whom the President’s Intelligence Checklist was first written on 17 June 1961

For this day, the Checklist Staff can find no words more fitting than a verse quoted by the President to a group of newspapermen the day he learned of the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba.

Bullfight critics ranked in rows
Crowd the enormous plaza full;
But only one is there who knows
And he’s the man who fights the bull.

Ernest Hemingway Ticket Stub for Bullfight. National Archives Identifier 192658.
Ernest Hemingway Ticket Stub for Bullfight. National Archives Identifier 192658

2 thoughts on “Intelligence to the First Customer

  1. So disappointed that there was no coordination with the Presidential Libraries on this release. We did not know that the PICLs were going to be released, what version they were using and did not receive copies to open in our files. Also disappointment that the library’s archives staff was not invited to attend the event, especially those people who work daily with this material.

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