For decades the President’s Intelligence Checklist (PICL, like “pickle”) and Presidential Daily Briefings (PDB) were considered highly confidential — too sensitive, said the CIA, to ever release to the American public.
Five years ago today, however, then-CIA Director John Brennan appeared at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library to announce that the once extremely-classified updates to the Commander in Chief (beginning with President Kennedy in June 1961) would finally be made public.
“The release of these documents affirms that the world’s greatest democracy does not keep secrets merely for secrecy’s sake,” Brennan said at the time. “Whenever we can shed light on the work of our government without harming national security, we will do so.”
A collection of the records through the Ford Administration now live on a page on CIA’s website, and MuckRock is beginning to add text-searchable versions of the PICLs and PDBs to DocumentCloud.
We want your help to read through them and create a more accessible resource for everyone. Check out the Checklists from 1961, and help us to pull out a few key information points.
Once we’ve made our way through these, we’ll release the next batch for sorting. Anyone anywhere can help, so spread the word and share the work of examining our country’s history.
Image via John F. Kennedy Presidential Library