Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Privileged And Confidential: The Secret History Of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board

Joseph C. Goulden, a veteran journalist and the author of several books on intelligence matters, wrote a good review of Privileged and Confidential: The Secret History of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board for the Washington Times.

Since the Eisenhower administration, every president with the exception of Jimmy Carter has made varying use of an outside advisory panel that authors Kenneth Michael Absher, Michael C. Desch and Roman Popadiuk term “one of the smallest, most secretive, least well-known, but potentially influential parts of the U.S. intelligence community.”

During most of its existence, the body was known as the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, or PFIAB. In 2008, during the post-Sept. 11 restructuring of the intelligence establishment, the name was changed to the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, which continues to be used under President Obama.

Because of the highly classified material with which it deals, the board is by nature secretive. It also operates under a blanket of executive privilege that President Eisenhower articulated in a 1958 letter to Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson in denying a request to access to PFIAB materials: “From time to time the President invites groups of specially qualified citizens to advise him on complex problems. These groups give the advice after intensive study, with the understanding that their advice will be kept confidential. Only by preserving the confidential nature of such advice is it possible to assemble such groups or for the President to avail himself of such advice.”

You can read the rest of the review via the below link:


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