The President's Book of Secrets

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: Browser, Collaboration


David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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  • DVR is set!

  • RE: The President's Book of Secrets

    I hope that salad plate is bigger than it looks, but I bet it isn't.
  • RE: The President's Book of Secrets

    Sounds interesting. Will be sure to tune in.
    • book

      I guess that if you want to spend your <a href="">cash for books</a>, the book here is one good investment. It will surely keep you going so you can find out as many secrets as possible.
  • Sunglasses

    Were you sure to wear your sunglasses during the interview so we can recognize you! lol, sounds cool man, soon it will probably be world knowledge because wikileaks will get it somehow
  • X-Rays?

    I thought they were passive scanners or are you just confused?
    • Backscatter imaging uses X-rays

      @tonymcs@... for what the TSA unoficially calls it's "D--k measuring device."
      Yes, X-rays, the kind that give you cancer.
  • RE: The President's Book of Secrets

    With your hands and mouth so close to levers and organs of power does this both explain your extravagant views about the threat to civilisation that Wikileaks poses, and the danger indeed of you being there? Or does it tell us more about the kind of people who want you there, and the danger that they pose to civilisation. if not the rest of the world?

    It probably does, but then it takes insight to see it, and insight is such a rare and precious quality in this raucous world.
    • RE: The President's Book of Secrets

      @hinforr@... Sounds like those of you who think you know everything are very annoying to those of us who do.......
      • Usually....


        those who think they know everything are the most ignorant of all.
    • In Mr. Gewirtz's defense

      @hinforr@... he actually has a reason, for his work, to retail the official story that anything the government doesn't like is killing people (as opposed to the mountains of corpses all around us from the effects of government policy, enabled by secrecy).

      What upsets me is completely separate people posing as "journalists" like the lamestream media who worship at the feet of power, retail their lies, and function as state-controlled media.

      The Pentagon has admitted candidly that there's no evidence of anyone being harmed by any of these leaks. But low-level sycophants like to get attention for how loudly they repeat the propaganda.
  • Welcome to the History Channel's presentation of

    The President's Secret Book.

    We can tell you that it may or may not exist.

    Now on to our 59 minute commercial break.
  • RE: The President's Book of Secrets redirects to and there is nothing there. : (
    • RE: The President's Book of Secrets

      @rlodhia Nothing there? What part of "gone" was unclear? They are GONE!
    • RE: The President's Book of Secrets

      @rlodhia Ugh. That server's been rock-solid for weeks and now it decides to act up. Even restarting Apache didn't help. Restarted the machine and all should be better. Sigh. Technology.
      David Gewirtz
  • RE: The President's Book of Secrets

    Thank you for the heads up I didn't know this was on. Have to set the DVR...
  • RE: The President's Book of Secrets

    The Waldorf salad was invented in Waldorf Maryland and adopted by the hotel.
  • RE: The President's Book of Secrets

    So this story is an op piece to promote your book and a review of the current iteration of the Waldorf salad? And Ziff-Davis pays you? Pitiful. I want my time refunded for that.
  • RE: The President's Book of Secrets

    I wasn't aware of this about you. It makes your stance on WikiLeaks so much more clear.

    Given the name of the organization you work for, I would have hoped rather than the focus on keeping White House communications safe and secure, the focus would be on keeping White House communications complete, accurate, and available for the public record.

    Here is to hoping you have plenty of more progressive colleagues there.
  • It will happen again...

    Process, policy and trust is not something advisors can write on a piece of paper and guarantee. If they do, they should be fired. Disasters like Wikileaks will continue to occur in the U.S. and around the world.

    David's insights into three of the five most important "W's" why, when, and who, reflects the realities every Presidency, Administration and Government face. Gewirtz's brilliant and easy to read analysis and commentary tell the story of how government institutions are vulnerable. You may not agree with his points of view, but more often than not - he's right.

    Read his book. You will find yourself shaking your head (often) as events unfold over the next several months.

    Doug Hanchard