The turbulent times of the 1960s have long intrigued historians and the people who lived through that era. On September 16, 2015, the CIA released windows into intelligence efforts from that time by releasing about 2,500 previously classified daily briefings that were sent to John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.
While a few of the President’s Daily Briefs (PDB) had been released over the years, the release of this many of them is unprecedented. These documents contain intelligence analyses on key national security issues and were delivered to an elite group of people. Only the President, the Vice President, and a small group of people designated by the President received the briefing each day.
The documents released included the President’s Intelligence Checklists from June to November of 1964 and the PDBs from December 1964 though January 1969. This time frame covers the periods of such critical events as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, the 1967 Six-Day War, and Vietnam.
The CIA worked for several years to review and declassify these documents in conjunction with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Security Council. The agencies released about 80% of the collection to the public.
The PDBS were released to great fanfare during a public symposium in Austin at the LBJ Presidential Library. This collection of documents is part of the CIA’s Historical Review Program, which reviews and declassifies documents on events or topics that are historically significant.
The newly released PDBs can be viewed online along with a color booklet that describes the documents and the process of preparing PDBs during this highly significant period of history.