The President's Book of Secrets

Summary:The President's Book of Secrets takes viewers on a journey inside White House history to unveil staggering information about secrets known only to the President.

Update: a YouTube playlist with the full program and my segments are shown at the end of this article.

Last July, I took a few days off from ZDNet to fly up to New York City. This was before all the TSA groping craziness, so -- to the disappointment of two or three of you out there, I'm sure -- there are no revealing X-rays of my junk floating around on the Internet.

My hosts were the producers of an upcoming History Channel special, The President's Book of Secrets, which airs tomorrow night, December 1, at 9pm.

The President's Book of Secrets takes viewers on a journey inside White House history to unveil staggering information about secrets known only to the President, from top-secret intelligence and classified events to covert codes and future technologies.

They flew me from Florida to New York City, and put me up at the historically famous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where the producers were filming some interviews in the Waldorf tower suites.

The trip was uneventful, except for the last few moments. We drove up 49th Street and were about to cross Park Avenue, so the cab driver could drop me at the Waldorf's entrance further up 49th Street. Unfortunately, he couldn't, because 49th Street was blocked.

As I crossed the street, I noticed that this wasn't any ordinary New York City road closing. Rather than profanity-spewing dudes in hard hats, there were a lot of serious-looking men and women in dark suits, many with an ear bud in one ear and a cord extending into their suit collars.

While there can be no official mention of why that level of security was present at that location at that time, the guest list of those interviewed for tomorrow's special may shed some light.

The President's Book of Secrets features exclusive interviews with Washington insiders, including former CIA Director Michael Hayden, former Director of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, former Vice President Dan Quayle, former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino and presidential daughter Susan Ford who reveal what it is like to live and work in the White House.

Additionally, Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, journalists Dan Rather and Jonathan Alter and other experts (that'd be me!) share what they know about the secret world of the presidency.

Presidential communication

As many of you know, in 2007 I wrote a series of articles and then a book, Where Have All The Emails Gone? How Something as Seemingly Benign as White House Email Can Have Freaky National Security Consequences. It's the most comprehensive analysis of White House email ever published and was described by The Intelligence Daily to be "the definitive account about the circumstances that led to the loss of administration emails."

Since then, I've continued to write many of the more visible accounts of other White House-related technology incidents. I now work with the Presidential Technology Watch, a watchdog initiative of the U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute that helps keep the White House’s electronic communications -- particularly those that are Internet-based -- safe and secure.

My work in this area is why I was invited to be part of Wednesday's show. My role in The President's Book of Secrets is to explore the Internet and the Presidency, along with White House email, communications, and messaging technologies.

Kudos to the producers for their patience while they were filming me. I haven't seen the program yet, but they've promised that even though I've got a face for radio, I won't break your TV screen.

Please tune in. I'm sure it'll be a fascinating program.

Set your TiVos. And, if you don't happen to catch it Wednesday night, check the History Channel's schedule for future broadcasts.

Oh, a final note. Some of you may know that the Waldorf Salad was invented at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan. As such, I had to try it, as you can see below. I'm sorry, but I wasn't all that impressed. It's just cole slaw made with apples. Meh. The steak was quite good, though.

Update: Watch it now

Intrepid, dedicated viewers have uploaded the President's Book of Secrets to YouTube. You can watch the whole thing via this playlist. And here's the segment I'm in. Enjoy!

My book, Where Have All The Emails Gone?, is now available as a free PDF download. See you tomorrow night on the History Channel!

I've done a lot more video since then. If you'd like to follow my video escapades, feel free to stop by my YouTube Channel, DavidGewirtzTV.

My book, Where Have All The Emails Gone?, is now available as a free PDF download. See you tomorrow night on the History Channel!

Topics: Enterprise Software, Collaboration


In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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