NSA: Did Nixon Even Read the CIA’s Daily Briefs?

14 September 2016 — National Security Archive

  • Nixon’s Attention Focused on Kissinger’s Cover Memos That Packaged the PDB
  • Recently Declassified Kissinger Memos Include Nixon’s Handwritten Comments
  • National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No.559

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Washington D.C., September 14, 2016 – President Richard Nixon may never have even read the President’s Daily Briefs partially declassified and released by the CIA with great fanfare on August 24, 2016. The CIA’s claim that the PDBs were “the primary vehicle for summarizing the day-to-day sensitive intelligence and analysis … for the White House” is partly true, but Nixon’s prejudices against the Agency and the distinctive role of national security adviser Henry Kissinger suggest that cover memos Kissinger had prepared and appended to the PDBs each day were far more important to the President than whatever the CIA had to say.

As a contribution to the ongoing discussion about the role of the PDBs in the Nixon White House, the National Security Archive today publishes together for the first time the six Kissinger daily briefing memoranda from 1969 through 1973 that have been declassified so far.  Valuable in themselves as windows into the relationship between intelligence and policymaking (and between Kissinger and Nixon), the memos are of further interest because of the illuminating and colorful handwritten commentary on several of them by President Nixon himself.  

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