President's Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB)

From 1956 to 1961, the board was known as the President's Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Affairs (PBCFIA). From 1961 to 2008, it was called the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), except for the Carter administration (1977-1981) during which it was abolished. It was reconstituted in 1981 by President Reagan. Since 2008, it has been designated the President's Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB). See

An older view of PIAB: "The PFIAB, which was formalized as an advisory and oversight panel by President John F. Kennedy after the disaster at the Bay of Pigs, has had an up-and-down history. It frequently has been used as a prestige appointment for presidential friends." Walter Pincus, "Getting Smarter About Intelligence," Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 20-26 Jun. 1994, 33.

PIAB has a Web site at:

Absher, Kenneth Michael, Michael C. Desch, and Roman Popadiuk. Privileged and Confidential: The Secret History of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2012.

Cooper-Wall, Studies 57.1 (Mar. 2013), says this "thoroughly researched and well-crafted" work "brings out the importance of the PIAB while giving it a fair and thorough appraisal." However, "at times one senses that the authors are still fighting an uphill battle to defend the PIAB." For Peake, Studies 57.1 (Mar. 2013), the "documentation" in this work "is excellent.... A chapter of conclusions is well worth close attention."

After noting that "the authors of this book worked with a very thin documentary base," Goulden, Washington Times, 19 Dec. 2012, and Intelligencer 19.3 (Winter-Spring 2013), grudgingly gives a "perhaps" to their contention that "the 'fresh perspective' brought to intelligence issues by outside experts is valuable." Nolen, IJI&C 27.3 (Fall 2014), finds that the authors "have contributed truly new and original research to the academic library on intelligence." However, there is "a focus on minutiae that are not always relevant to the main issue of determining the PIAB's effectiveness."

Aftergood, Steven. "White House Names New PFIAB Members." Secrecy News (from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy), 31 Oct. 2005. []

On 27 October 2005, President George W. Bush announced that "Stephen Friedman, an investment banker and a previous PFIAB member, will serve as the next PFIAB chairman." See the text of the White House Press Release and the full list of PFIAB members at

Anderson, Martin. Revolution. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988.

Petersen: "Reagan's domestic adviser's account covers the 1985 purge of the PFIAB."

Cherne, Leo. "Need to Know." Journal of Defense and Diplomacy 4 (May 1986): 38-41.

PFIAB Vice Chairman at the time the article was written.

The Hale Foundation. The President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB). Washington, DC: 1981. [Petersen]

Nolan, Cynthia M. "The PFIAB Personality: Presidents and Their Foreign Intelligence Boards." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 23, no. 1 (Spring 2010): 27-60.

"This relatively brief description of fifty years of the PFIAB allows a few general observation. First, the PFIAB is, above all, flexible.... Second, the PFIAB is basically enduring.... Third, the PFIAB makes a good and useful product."

Return to General Post-WWII Table of Contents