The President’s Daily Brief (PDB), sometimes referred to as the President’s Daily Briefing or the President’s Daily Bulletin, is a top-secret document produced and given each morning to the President of the United States, and is also distributed to a small number of top-level US officials who are approved by the President, and includes highly classified intelligence analysis, information about CIA covert operations and reports from the most sensitive US sources or those shared by allied intelligence agencies. The PDB is also provided to the President-elect of the United States, between election day and inauguration.
In September of 2017, I filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) seeking the following:
“…any new or updated guidelines or for any/all memos regarding the preparation and formatting and creation of the President’s Daily Brief. Please note that I limit this request to records during Calendar Year 2016 and 2017.”
On March 16, 2018, they sent out the responsive documents.
The records show that their instructions are heavily classified and exempted from release. You can see from the records below, that much of the information is redacted, however, there are some instructions and notes that made it through, and it is very telling how the PDB’s are created for President Donald Trump.
For example, use lots of pictures:
And, “one(ish)” has become a proper page count directive:
And finally, use the least amount of acronyms possible:
The above release contained quite a bit of “non-responsive” material, which they consider not responsive to my request, so they do not review it for release. I then filed a second FOIA request specifically for the “non-responsive” material previously unreviewed. The below is the result. In large part, they denied it all again, just citing various other FOIA exemptions.