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David Priess

Former CIA officer, manager, and daily intelligence briefer; Author of breakout book "The President’s Book of Secrets"

  • Frequent expert guest on national security and the presidency on CNN, MSNBC, and other media; published widely in outlets from Foreign Affairs, Lawfare, and Foreign Policy online to the Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, and Politico.
  • The only writer to interview for one book every living former President and Vice President
  • Former daily intelligence briefer to FBI Director Robert Mueller, now the special counsel investigating Russian influence in the 2016 election

Topics & Types
National SecurityTeamworkPoliticsDecision Making

Dr. David Priess, a frequent media presence on national security and the presidency, served at the CIA during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations as an intelligence officer, manager, and daily intelligence briefer, and as a desk officer at the State Department. After September 11, 2001, he delivered the exclusive President’s Daily Brief directly to some of the few senior national officials allowed to see it—like his regular customer for the briefings, FBI Director Robert Mueller, now the special counsel investigating Russian influence in the 2016 election.

He wrote The President’s Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America’s Presidents, the inside history of the President’s Daily Brief. He has shared with audiences nationwide—including at the George H. W. Bush Library and Museum in Texas, with President Bush and Barbara Bush in attendance—stories about America’s Presidents, national security decision-making, and intelligence.

  • Priess earned his PhD in political science from Duke University and has taught international relations classes at Duke University, George Mason University, and the George Washington University.
  • His writings on the Presidency, national security, foreign policy, and critical thinking have appeared in outlets ranging from Foreign AffairsForeign PolicyLawfare, War on the Rocks, and The Cipher Brief online to the Washington PostHouston ChroniclePolitico, Middle East Policy, and Security Studies.

Unique Stories from the Pinnacle of Power Priess became the first author to interview every living former President and Vice President, as well as the majority of other leading national security and intelligence leaders of the past 50 years, for his highly regarded book. CIA Directors, Secretaries of State, Secretaries of Defense, National Security Advisors, White House Chiefs of Staff, and others joined those Presidents and Vice Presidents in sharing with Priess their rich stories, often for the first time, to allow him illuminate how national security works at the highest levels.

Compelling Presentation Priess is a dynamic, engaging speaker who shares tales about Top Secret intelligence work and delivers insight into Presidents and their decisions—with applications for leadership, change management, teamwork, and customer service. He has spoken in venues from briefing rooms at the White House, Pentagon, and State Department to packed auditoriums across the country to national television, with frequent appearances in particular on CNN and MSNBC.

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Location/Travels from: DC
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