David Priess is a writer and speaker on national security, intelligence, and the presidency. He served at the CIA during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations as an intelligence officer, manager, and daily intelligence briefer as well as at the State Department as a desk officer in the Near East Bureau.
Priess’s intelligence and diplomatic career focused on Middle Eastern politics and terrorism. His role as daily intelligence briefer to FBI Director Robert Mueller and Attorney General John Ashcroft involved presenting the highlights of the of President’s Daily Brief and other intelligence materials each morning; he also filled in as the PDB briefer for the National Security Advisor, the Deputy National Security Advisor, and the CIA’s Deputy Director.
For his 2016 book The President’s Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America’s Presidents, Priess became the first author to interview for one book every living former President, Vice President, and CIA Director from previous administrations as well as nearly 100 other national security and intelligence leaders of the past half century—most National Security Advisors, Secretaries of State, Secretaries of Defense, and White House Chiefs of Staff. His new book, How To Get Rid of a President: History’s Guide to Removing Unpopular, Unable, or Unfit Chief Executives, came out in November 2018 and tells the rich stories of the various ways Presidents have left office.
Priess’s analysis and commentary has appeared in outlets including The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Lawfare, Politico, War on the Rocks, The Cipher Brief, Skeptic, and The Houston Chronicle. He has appeared as a national security and political commentator on multiple CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NPR, and BBC programs. Priess has spoken at venues ranging from the International Spy Museum to seven presidential libraries/museums around the country to the National Archives in Washington, DC.
Priess obtained his BA in politicial science from Illinois Wesleyan University, his MA in political science from Duke University, and his PhD in political science from Duke University. He has taught political science classes at Duke University, the George Washington University, and George Mason University.
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