clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

White House picks names for NSA review panel, led by former CIA chief

New, 16 comments
white house verge stock
white house verge stock

The White House has named its choices for the NSA review panel, charged with investigating data collection practices in the wake of the Snowden leaks. According to an ABC News report, the panel will be lead by Michael Morell, who served as acting director of the CIA until March of this year. Morell will be joined on the panel by legal scholar Cass Sunstein, State Department veteran Richard Clarke, and privacy advocate Peter Swire. The group plans to file an interim report to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in 60 days, followed by a full report to be filed by the end of the year. As per earlier White House statements, the panel will not officially report to Clapper, but file its findings directly to the president.

So far, Sunstein's appointment has attracted the most criticism. The Harvard law professor has written widely on public issues ranging from animal rights to modern conceptions of free speech, and served as a close advisor to President Obama since his Chicago days. In 2010, Glenn Greenwald wrote an article criticizing Sunstein for his unorthodox 2008 proposal targeting conspiracy theory groups, prompting some to question Sunstein's commitment to privacy.

A full report will be filed by the end of the year

Richard Clarke is another notable figure, having come to prominence for his role in the 9/11 commission and emerged as one of the central voices warning of al-Qaeda's intentions before the attacks. More recently, he has called for increased federal web monitoring as a way to counter Chinese espionage. "If government agencies were authorized to create a major program to grab stolen data leaving the country, they could drastically reduce today’s wholesale theft of American corporate secrets," Clarke wrote in a 2012 New York Times editorial. Clarke also speculated that the Obama administration had declined to act "because it is fearful that government monitoring would be seen as a cover for illegal snooping."

Peter Swire, a law professor at Ohio State, is the strongest privacy advocate in the group, having worked as a mediator in federal efforts to promote Do Not Track protocols. He also served as chief counselor for privacy in the Clinton administration.