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Profs and Pints DC presents: “The President’s Daily Brief,” an insider’s perspective on the world’s most classified document, with Anand Arun, a veteran analyst and intelligence officer for several security agencies who teaches graduate-level courses on intelligence and terrorism as an adjunct assistant professor in Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies.
The President’s Daily Brief, or the PDB, has been characterized as the “crown jewels” of our nation’s intelligence community. A high-level compilation of the U.S. intelligence community’s most closely guarded secrets, it’s how that community directly informs the President of the United States on the world’s most pressing geopolitical and national security issues.
Come gain a deep understanding of the PDB from Anand Arun, who has helped compile that document during a career that has involved overseeing intelligence teams at the Department of Defense, Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Having been a PDB briefer to the two highest-ranking military officers in the United States—the chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—and also briefed President Barack Obama, President Donald Trump, and President Joe Biden on pressing national security threats, he’ll offer you a rare inside—albeit unclassified—look at how the PDB comes together and plays into decision-making in Washington.
Along with illuminating the ins and outs of the Presidents’ Daily Brief based on his firsthand knowledge, he’ll discuss President’s responsibilities upon receiving it. You’ll learn how some Presidents have regarded the document with such grave seriousness they’ve referred to it as the “book of death,” while others, such as President Trump, have been accused of ignoring the PDB altogether.
We’ll look in depth at perhaps the most infamous PDB article in U.S. history, delivered to then-President George W. Bush on August 6, 2001. Entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the US,” it warned about al-Qa’eda’s interest in attacking the United States a full month before 9/11. Along with unpacking the broader context behind this article, Professor Arun will examine some of the pros and cons in how the intelligence community provides warning of attacks by terrorists or others intent on doing harm. (Advance tickets: $13.50 plus sales tax and processing fees. Doors: $17, or $15 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later.)
Image: Part of the since-declassified Presidents’ Daily Brief from August 6, 2001. (National Security Archive.)