Politics

Obama’s NSA review panel lacking tech industry reps

Josh Peterson Tech Editor

President Obama’s new intelligence review panel has no representatives from the U.S. tech and telecom industries.

Despite being directly and negatively impacted by the allegations made against U.S. technology and telecommunications companies via former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s surveillance disclosures, the two industries lack representation on Obama’s new review panel.

Instead, Obama tapped former administration officials familiar with technology and the ways of Washington whose legal and intelligence expertise could be leveraged to review the nation’s hi-tech surveillance programs.

Among the president’s men are: Michael Morell, former CIA deputy director; Cass Sunstein, former Obama administration Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs; Richard Clarke, a Clinton administration cybersecurity advisor, and Peter Swire, a former Clinton and Obama administration advisor.

Also on the panel is Geoffrey Stone, a University of Chicago Law School professor and former colleague to Obama when he taught at the university.

Over the past several years as advancements in technology have continued to increase and permeate society, technologists have demanded a seat at the government policy table.

American blogger Marcy Wheeler told The Daily Caller via Twitter that at least one representative from a “non-telecom industry might make sense,” although she was skeptical a telecom representative would be beneficial to the panel.

“They’re very complicit, have long showed willingness to break laws,” she tweeted.

Wheeler has been an outspoken critic of the NSA’s programs on her blog, emptywheel.net.

National security attorney Bradley P. Moss, Esq., agreed that the panel needed more perspectives, stating that the “review panel might have benefited from true tech savvy ‘outsiders'” because of the complexity of modern surveillance.

Obama met with the five-person panel Tuesday, the White House said.

The group is expected to present interim findings to Obama within 60-days, along with a final report and recommendations by mid-December.

Sunstein, who is married to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power., is among Obama’s most controversial picks for the panel.

Sunstein was criticized for a 2008 paper he wrote while at Harvard that recommended government agents and their allies conduct psychological operations against online conspiracy theory forums and chat rooms in order to influence the conversation.

He called the technique  “cognitive infiltration.”

Journalist and blogger Glenn Greenwald brought public attention to the Sunstein’s work in 2010.

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