CIA to Release Declassified Documents at LBJ Library

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CIA director John O. Brennan, MA ’80, is on the Forty Acres this week for the first-ever release of declassified daily briefings given to presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson during the 1960s. The 2,500 briefs cover the periods from June 1961 through November 1964, then called President’s Intelligence Checklists, or PICLs, and from December 1964 through the end of Johnson’s term in January 1969, when they were referred to as the President’s Daily Briefs (PDBs).

These briefs cover a tumultuous time in American history, detailing the Cuban Missile Crisis, the escalating Vietnam War, and crises in South America and the Middle East. Currently, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper delivers these briefs to President Obama. Today, they will be released to the public during an event at the LBJ Library featuring Brennan and other top intelligence officials.

At an event at the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center yesterday, Brennan explained that the release of the PDBs is an effort on behalf of the intelligence community to remain as transparent as possible. Brennan’s tenure as director has run concurrently with some trying times for transparency in intelligence, including the controversy over alleged CIA spying on Senate computers and Edward Snowden’s leaking of NSA documents.

“I think the American public has a right to understand better what its government was involved in and what the intelligence community is doing,” he said, during the discussion with Chancellor Bill McRaven and former CIA director Porter Goss. “We take silent pride in what we do,” Brennan continued. “There needs to be more articulation of what the CIA does but also separating out what can be disclosed.”

The briefings will be released here. Brennan also said that the CIA will be releasing additional PDBs from the Ford and Nixon administrations next year, most of them in an un-redacted form.

The event, which will conclude with a speech from Clapper, is today at 1 p.m, and can be streamed here.

Above: Chancellor Bill McRaven, former CIA director Porter Goss, and current CIA director John O. Brennan at yesterday’s discussion.

Photo by Anna Donlan

 

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