John Helgerson

Helgerson, John.

1. Getting to Know the President: CIA Briefings of Presidential Candidates, 1952-1992. Washington, DC: Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, 1996. [https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/cia-briefings-of-presidential-candidates/index.htm]

In his "Foreword," Andrew calls this "an important and original book.... Helgerson provides the first detailed account of the way in which Agency briefers have attempted, with varying success, to adapt briefings to the different experience, priorities, and working patterns of successive presidents." Surveillant 4.4/5 exclaims, "Never before has the Agency disclosed much about the briefing of these presidents." Jonkers, AIJ 17.1/2, calls the work "[i]lluminating, interesting and recommended."

Clark comment: The book's importance may be arguable, but at a minimum it is original and, even more, it is certainly interesting. In light of all the uproar that would occur in later years over the hostage issue, it is worthy of note that the subject never came up in either the preelection or transition briefings of Reagan.

2. Getting to Know the President, Second Edition: Intelligence Briefings of Presidential Candidates, 1952-2004. Washington, DC: Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, 2012. [https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/getting-to-know-the-president/index.html]

Peake, Studies 57.1 (Mar. 2013), and Intelligencer 20.1 (Spring-Summer 2013), notes that this version updates the original edition to include George W. Bush. It "is a historical treasure for those interested in intelligence and the presidency."

[CIA/Overviews/90s & 10s][c]

Helgerson, John. "Truman and Eisenhower: Launching the Process." Studies in Intelligence 38, no. 5 (1995): 65-77.

DCI Smith provided weekly briefings to President Truman. There was tension between Truman and Eisenhower over the President's invitation to the candidates to meet with him and the Cabinet for briefing on foreign affairs. Eisenhower accepted pre-election briefings from CIA, which began on 30 August 1952; Smith took over the briefing of the President-elect in November. Dulles provided weekly briefings at the NSC meeting, chaired by Eisenhower; at times, a follow-on meeting between the President, Dulles, and a staff aide would be held. Eisenhower authorized intelligence briefings of Stevenson in the 1956 campaign.

[CIA/40sGen & 50s/Gen]

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