President-elect Joe Biden marks a milestone on his path to the White House today when he gets his first President's Daily Brief — the intelligence community's collection of secrets, intelligence, and analysis about long- and short-term threats US leaders need to know to run the country and keep it safe.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will get the same briefing on Monday with Biden, the transition team said Wednesday, ending the strange situation where she, as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, had access to more classified intelligence than the President-elect.
Here are key things to know about the classified intelligence briefing:
- The PDB, as it's known, is prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for the President, vice president and senior advisers.
- The PDB contains the daily collection of analysis and information that the intelligence community believes the President and his most senior national security staff need to start the day — it's been called the newspaper with the world's smallest circulation.
- The intelligence briefers come in during the middle of the night to prepare for their early morning sessions with these senior customers — studying the PDB material, reviewing raw intelligence and other finished analytic products, and asking experts questions that they anticipate getting during their sessions.
- The PDB is often tailored to the President currently in office. President George W. Bush preferred being briefed orally by his top intelligence aides while President Barack Obama often read through his on a secure tablet. President Trump often received his in late-morning sessions with career intelligence officials, though at times it disappeared from his schedule altogether.
- Receiving a classified intelligence briefing is typically one of the first rights of a presidential candidate after winning the election.
Trump, who has refused to concede the election, relented only last week on his initial refusal to allow Biden access to the nation's most vital intelligence — a tradition based on US national security interests to ensure the election's winner and their incoming team are as ready as possible to cope with global threats and challenges.
In 2016, Trump received his first PDB, as it is known, a week after the election.
CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Zachary Cohen contributed reporting to this post.