In the last few weeks the two presidential nominees have received their initial intelligence briefings. Although the experience must have been different for each — it was Donald Trump’s first, whereas Hillary Clinton is an experienced intelligence consumer — they were both recipients of a product authorized by President Barack Obama, the intelligence community’s most important customer and the official who more than anyone else controls how intelligence is shared inside and outside the US government.

For years the CIA shielded from public view every single one of the briefings that it produces daily for the president’s eyes only, arguing that even letting go one 50-year old briefing could harm national security.

Only in recent years did the CIA revise its traditional stance, releasing in September all of the daily, classified newsletters it had produced for Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. And on Wednesday, the releases continued, with the posting on the Web of the 28,000 pages prepared for Richard Nixon and his successor, Gerald Ford.

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