How Secret Was That PDB?

President Bush strips down to his brief.

The Bush administration is preparing to make public, possibly as early as today, the Central Intelligence Agency’s Presidential Daily Brief, or PDB, for Aug. 6, 2001. During National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice’s testimony yesterday before the 9/11 commission, it was revealed that the PDB was titled “Bin Laden Determined To Attack Inside the United States.” Rice insisted that the PDB contained only “historical information.” But the Bush White House has until now refused, on national security grounds, to release the document to the general public.

On March 22, Thomas Blanton, director of the nonprofit National Security Archive, argued in Slate that, judging from previous PDBs that were later made public, the Aug. 6 PDB was much likelier to threaten political embarrassment than the revelation of any state secrets.