I thought, you thought, we all thought that the letters PDB stood for 'President's Daily Brief', or 'Presidential Daily Briefing', or something like that. Well, I was watching Tony Snow's White House press briefing today, as one does, and he expanded PDB to "Presidential Decision Brief".
Q But, Tony -- and this is my last question -- I understand you keep talking about the Clinton administration, but let's talk about August 6, 2001, this administration, this PDB. Let's talk about why it was not placed at a high level. Why not?
MR. SNOW: It's a presidential decision brief, for heaven's sake, it goes before the President. What higher level do you have?
I thought it might be a slip of the tongue but Googled it nevertheless [here]. I found only two pages - first, chapter 2 of a risible anti-Iran 'book', and, second, a recruitment notice from the Defense Intelligence Agency (or was it from SAIC?). The extract Google found was this:
Our candidates will assist senior DIA analyst in writing reports, articles, or other papers as required up to the standard of a Presidential Decision Brief. ...
And, when I accessed the webpage less than an hour ago, those words were in the advertisement (as they had to be, for me to have found the page). But, now, they have disappeared from the text.
Title: Senior Intelligence Writer
Skills: Writer, analyst, Program Manager, Manager
Location: Arlington, VA Area code: 703 Tax term: FULLTIME Pay rate: Competitive Length: FULLTIME Position ID: 66413 Dice ID: saicbot
Job description: The Space and Geospatial Intelligence Business Unit has a current opening for two Senior Intelligence writers to support the Counter Narco Trafficking Division of DIA. These are full time positions and are located in Crystal City. We do not envision much travel with these positions. We require candidates who have written for the Presidential Daily Brief. They will write for the Brief and also assist senior DIA analyst in writing reports, articles, or other papers as required. A background in Counter Narcotics Intelligence is desired but not required. Our successful candidates will have a minimum of a Bachelors Degree although graduate education is highly desired. Also desired is graduation from a Senior Intelligence Community writing course. These candidates must have at least eight years experience in the National Intelligence Community at the Senior Military (O-5/O-6, GS-14/15/SES, or Senior contracting position) and must demonstrate their ability to write by sharing examples of their writing. The successful candidate will interview with the SAIC Program Manager and with Senior Staff at DIA. The candidates must have unsurpassed ability to communicate clearly and concisely in oral and written English.
That they would scrub the phrase 'Presidential Decision Brief' so soon after Tony Snow's words went public leads me to wonder if we weren't all wrong about what PDBs were. And, if so, if the August 6th, 2001, PDB, titled 'Bin Laden determined to strike in US', required a decision from the president, what decision did he make?