President Barack Obama said two weeks ago that he would assemble a panel of intelligence outsiders to evaluate the National Security Agency and “consider how we can maintain the trust of the people [and] how we can make sure that there absolutely is no abuse.”
On Thursday, ABC News revealed some of the names of the people chosen for the panel by White House officials. Unsurprisingly, those charged with reviewing the NSA’s practices aren’t exactly outsiders.
The identities of the panelists have been a topic of speculation online, raising questions over whether the group would truly be independent in its review. The White House has insisted the group has full independence.
The president made clear that — in addition to looking at potential abuses by the program — the group will also assess whether the U.S. government “appropriately” accounts for “insider threats” and unauthorized disclosures.
“[Recent] technological advances have brought with them both great opportunities and significant risks for our intelligence community,” President Obama said.
In 60 days, the review panel will provide an interim report to the director of national intelligence, who will then brief the president on the panel’s findings.
A final report and subsequent recommendations will then be provided by the end of the year “so that we can move forward with a better understanding of how these programs impact our security, our privacy and our foreign policy,” President Obama said two weeks ago.
Among those chosen for the panel are:
- Michael Morell— former acting head of the Central Intelligence Agency
- Richard Clarke— served the last three Presidents as a senior White House adviser, including as national coordinator for security and counterterrorism
- Cass Sunstein— Obama’s former administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
- Peter Swire— early in the Obama Administration, served as a special assistant to the President for economic policy and, during the Clinton administration, served as the chief counselor for privacy