David Priess

Dr. David Priess worked at the CIA during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush presidencies. During the early 2000s, he briefed the President’s Daily Brief for over a year to the Attorney General and the FBI Director and even in the White House itself. 

Priess has written two books about US presidents, including The President’s Book of Secrets, covering how US intelligence officials brief the president on the most sensitive information in the world. He became the first author to interview, for one book, every living former President, Vice President, and CIA director from previous administrations. 

Priess appears often on television, in print, and on podcasts discussing intelligence and national security. He has a PhD in political science from Duke University and speaks widely. 


Presentation Topics

The President’s Book of Secrets

Dr. Priess provides a rare window into the most exclusive daily newspaper in the world: the President’s Daily Brief—which contains the most sensitive intelligence reporting and analysis in the world. The Central Intelligence Agency’s spies, the National Security Agency’s listening posts and the nation’s reconnaissance satellites gather secrets for the PDB, while America’s enemies send undercover agents to try to unearth its classified content. Every working morning, intelligence briefers fan out from the CIA headquarters to deliver copies of “The Book” to the president and the handful of senior advisors he has designated to see its Top Secret pages. Telling tales from his own experience and those of the former Presidents, Vice Presidents and CIA Directors, he worked or spoke with, Priess brings alive 60 years of espionage and history-changing analysis.

Intelligence 101

Dr. Priess walks through the foundation of intelligence -- why government collect secret information, the various ways they get that "raw" intelligence, how they evaluate and process it, and then the methods for getting finished intelligence products to decision-makers. With colorful stories that highlight rare artifacts in the museum itself, he brings alive the history to make every audience better appreciate intelligence and the effort its practitioners put into these difficult jobs. 

Top Secret Customer Service

For 50 years, the CIA has tailored delivery of its daily intelligence report to each President’s personal style and preferences. The CIA’s briefers have used creative means to appeal to each Commander in Chief, and to ensure that their key messages about the world’s most sensitive issues remain absolutely clear. With stories from his own experience and directly from the former Presidents, Vice Presidents and CIA Directors he worked with and interviewed, Dr. Priess tells investigators the best and the worst of White house and CIA relationships to illuminate enduring best practices for learning leaders’ needs—and for meeting them.

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