David Priess

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Visiting Professor

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Dr. David Priess is the chief operating officer of the Lawfare Institute, a term visiting professor at the Schar School, a senior fellow at the Michael V. Hayden Center, and a writer and speaker on the presidency, intelligence, and national security. At Lawfare, he is responsible for managing the organization behind one of the most trusted online and podcast sources of non-partisan, fact-based information and analysis at the nexus of national security, law, and policy.

Priess served during the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush at the CIA as an intelligence officer, a manager, and a daily intelligence briefer and at the State Department as a desk officer in the Near Eastern Affairs Bureau. During the Bush 43 administration, he personally delivered the President’s Daily Brief for more than a year to Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller and occasionally into the White House.

He has written two books about US presidents. The first, “The President’s Book of Secrets,” relates how US intelligence officials for more than fifty years have delivered Top Secret intelligence to commanders in chief on the most sensitive information in the world. The project enabled him to become the first author to interview, for one book, every living former president, vice president, and CIA director from previous administrations. His most recent book is “How To Get Rid of a President: History’s Guide To Removing Unpopular, Unable, or Unfit Chief Executives.” Covering American political history from the Constitutional Convention through the election of Donald Trump, it stands as the definitive survey of how presidents have left office.

His articles have been published in the Washington PostLawfareThe BulwarkForeign Affairs, the Daily BeastPoliticoThe Cipher BriefForeign Policy, and the Houston Chronicle. Priess also appears often on national television, radio, and podcasts to discuss the presidency, intelligence, and national security issues. 

Priess has a BA from Illinois Wesleyan University and an MA and PhD in political science from Duke University.