The Presidency by Hugh Sidey: Assembling a Global Picture

The Presidency

Every night, in the strange chamber that John Kennedy named the Situation Room, anonymous clerks, secretaries and experts in the rites of secrecy assemble a picture of the globe from the preceding 24 hours. It comes, in fragments, from thousands of sources: satellites that scan China, spies watching Warsaw Pact maneuvers near Poland, diplomats who read the Moscow papers and walk in Red Square studying the people.

The Situation Room is in the basement of the West Wing of the White House. The low ceiling, dark walls and functional appointments give it the...

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