Last week, a unconfirmed report emerged saying that President Obama had chosen the members for his proposed NSA review panel. Many were disappointed to learn that the four members chosen all had a connection to the White House and three are close to the intelligence community. Well, we now have official confirmation of who's joining the NSA review panel and it's a little less disappointing.
The Hill reports that President Obama held his first meeting with members of the NSA review panel on Tuesday. The members of the panel include the previously announced Michael Morrel, Richard Clarke, Cass Sustein and Peter Swire. There's a fifth member - Geoffrey Stone - and he may bring a little independent thought to the panel.
So, who is Stone? According to Wikipedia, he's an American law professor currently teaching at the University of Chicago Law School. He's also the author of two very topical books - Top Secret: When Our Government Keeps Us In The Dark and War And Liberty: An American Dilemma. He has no known connection to the White House or the intelligence community, and it seems that he's very critical of both. In short, he's a fantastic addition to a panel that was starting to look a little one sided.
In an official statement, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that the review group will advise the President on how to move forward with the NSA's data collection programs:
"These individuals bring to the task immense experience in national security, intelligence, oversight, privacy and civil liberties. The Review Group will bring a range of experience and perspectives to bear to advise the President on how, in light of advancements in technology, the United States can employ its technical collection capabilities in a way that optimally protects our national security and advances our foreign policy while respecting our commitment to privacy and civil liberties, recognizing our need to maintain the public trust, and reducing the risk of unauthorized disclosure."
When President Obama first announced the review panel, he said that it would deliver an interim report to Intelligence Director James Clapper within 60 days and then deliver a final report to the president before the end of the year. That still seems to be the plan, but there's no word yet on whether or not the president will publish the final report for the public's consumption. We can only hope that the results of this review are transparent as possible.[Image: UCTV/YouTube]