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Top secret: Biden gets access to President’s Daily Brief

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WILMINGTON, DEL. —
Joe Biden has had his first look as president-elect on the President’s Day by day Temporary, a prime secret abstract of U.S. intelligence and world occasions — a doc former first woman Michelle Obama has referred to as “The Demise, Destruction, and Horrible Issues Ebook.”

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Biden has already had eyes on totally different iterations of the so-called PDB, which is tailor-made to the way in which every president likes to soak up info.

Greater than a decade in the past, Biden learn President George W. Bush’s PDB throughout Biden’s transition into the vice presidency. After that, he learn President Barack Obama’s PDB for eight years. Starting Monday, after a four-year break, he is studying U.S. President Donald Trump’s PDB.

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“The briefers nearly actually will probably be asking Biden what he prefers when it comes to format and elegance,” mentioned David Priess, creator of “The President’s Ebook of Secrets and techniques,” a historical past of the PDB. “At a minimal, they’re seeing what appears to resonate most with him in order that after they make the guide his guide, they’ll tailor it to him.”

Obama’s PDB was a 10- to 15-page doc tucked in a leather-based binder, which he discovered ready for him on the breakfast desk. Later in his presidency, he preferred studying the ultra-secret intelligence temporary on a secured iPad.

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“Michelle referred to as it “The Demise, Destruction, and Horrible Issues Ebook,” Obama wrote in his lately launched guide, “A Promised Land.”

“On a given day, I’d examine terrorist cells in Somalia or unrest in Iraq or the truth that the Chinese language or Russians had been creating new weapons programs,” Obama wrote. “Almost all the time, there was point out of potential terrorist plots, regardless of how obscure, thinly sourced, or unactionable — a type of due diligence on the a part of the intelligence group, meant to keep away from the type of second-guessing that had transpired after September 11.”

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From now till Inauguration Day, Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris will probably be studying the PDB crafted for Trump, who had delayed giving Biden and Harris entry to it as he contests the end result of the election.

Trump, who prefers absorbing info in visible methods, likes brief texts and graphics.

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“Trump himself mentioned throughout his marketing campaign and through the transition in 2016 that he didn’t like studying lengthy paperwork — that he most well-liked bullet factors,” mentioned Priess, who has not seen any of Trump’s PDBs. “It most likely has charts, tables, graphs — issues like that. Not the parody that folks make that it is like a cartoon guide … however one thing that’s extra visible. However we do not know for certain.”

The written temporary, which Trump does not all the time learn, usually is adopted by a verbal briefing with an intelligence official, though these oral briefings stopped not less than for a time in October. Priess mentioned he did not know why they stopped or if that they had resumed, however that they stopped at a time when Trump was spending a lot of his time on the marketing campaign path.

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Earlier than Trump licensed Biden to get the PDB as president-elect, Biden was given some intelligence background briefings as a candidate. However they had been extra normal and didn’t embrace the nation’s prime secrets and techniques.

The opposite factor {that a} president-elect will get is a briefing “on CIA’s covert actions,” former appearing CIA director Mike Morell mentioned at an occasion hosted by the Middle for Presidential Transition based mostly in Washington. “It is vital for the president-elect to get this briefing … as a result of on Inauguration Day, these covert actions will turn into the brand new president’s.”

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In 1961, President John F. Kennedy learn his first temporary whereas sitting on the diving board of a swimming pool at his retreat within the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. President Lyndon Johnson preferred to learn his temporary within the afternoon. President Richard Nixon relied on his nationwide safety adviser Henry Kissinger to peruse the briefs and inform him what he thought the president ought to know.

Because the laborious recount of ballots dragged on in 2000, President Invoice Clinton determined that then-Gov. George W. Bush ought to get entry to his PDB simply in case he was the winner. Bush turned was the primary incoming president to learn it earlier than he was president-elect.

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Biden is getting the PDB later than standard due to Trump’s ongoing protest of the election outcomes. Trump accredited the briefings for Biden final Tuesday, a day after his administration accredited the formal transition course of to his successor.

When Biden walks into the Oval Workplace, he’ll be inheriting nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran, altering political dynamics within the Center East, the winding down of America’s presence in Afghanistan and rising competitors from China.

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Biden had entry to the PDB in Wilmington, Delaware. Harris acquired it in a safe room on the Commerce Division, the place the presidential transition workplaces are situated.

Even Biden, who has a long time of expertise in overseas coverage, could possibly be the sufferer of an outdated political adage that regardless of how knowledgeable he thinks he’s, he may be taught in any other case from the PDB.

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Former CIA Director Michael Hayden wrote in his guide that revelations and new perception discovered within the PDB are generally known as “aw s—” moments. As in: “Aw s—,” he wrote, “want we hadn’t mentioned that in that marketing campaign cease in Buffalo.”

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Riechmann reported from Washington.

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