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Privileged and Confidential: The Secret History of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board

by Kenneth Michael Absher, Michael C. Desch, and Roman Popadiuk

Availablecloth$70.00x 978-0-8131-3608-0
528 pages  Pubdate: 09/21/2012  6 x 9  1 graph, 11 tables

Above the politics and ideological battles of Washington, D.C., is a committee that meets behind locked doors and leaves its paper trail in classified files. The President’s Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB) is one of the most secretive and potentially influential segments of the U.S. intelligence community. Established in 1956, the PIAB advises the president about intelligence collection, analysis, and estimates, and about the legality of foreign intelligence activities.

Privileged and Confidential: The Secret History of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board is the first and only study of the PIAB. Foreign policy veterans Kenneth Michael Absher, Michael C. Desch, and Roman Popadiuk trace the board’s history from Eisenhower through Obama and evaluate its effectiveness under each president. Created to be an independent panel of nonpartisan experts, the PIAB has become increasingly susceptible to politics in recent years and has lost some of its influence. Absher, Desch, and Popadiuk, however, clearly demonstrate the board’s potential to offer a unique and valuable perspective on intelligence issues. Privileged and Confidential not only illuminates a little-known element of U.S. intelligence operations but also offers suggestions for enhancing a critical executive function.

Kenneth Michael Absher, a retired senior CIA operations officer, is a fellow with the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University and the author of Mind-Sets and Missiles: A First Hand Account of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Michael C. Desch, professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, is the author of Civilian Control of the Military: The Changing Security Environment.

Roman Popadiuk served as the first U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine in 1992-1993. He is a retired member of the career Senior Foreign Service.

"Prviledged and Confidential fills a large gap in our understanding about how presidents and their cabinet colleagues acquire information about dangers to U.S. security. The President's Intelligence Advisory Board has been a significant, if uneven, source of counsel. Finally, we have a study--well written and well researched--that explains its role over the years. This work is an important addition to every library on intelligence studies, and it will find an appreciative audience as well among a broader community of security students, established scholars, and citizens interested in how the United States attempts to protect itself against foreign and domestic threats."--Loch Johnson, Regents Professor of International Affairs, The University of Georgia

Privileged and Confidential is a significant contribution to the literature on the U.S. intelligence community and U.S. foreign policy. It will be viewed as the definitive work on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board.”—James Wirtz, Dean, Naval Postgraduate School

"Privileged and Confidential shines the spotlight for the first time on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board. The board is a little-known but influential part of the U.S. intelligence community that, at its best, helps transform and unite the various intelligence community constituents into a more effective tool for presidents. This highly informative and readable book is essential reading for anyone interested in the past or, more important, the future of U.S. intelligence."--President George H. W. Bush

"Privileged and Confidential is an insightful and interesting read. This book will serve as the cornerstone and benchmark of this history. -- Smauel Cooper-Wall