In the wake of the National Security Agency (NSA) spying scandal, President Barack Obama announced the creation of an “independent group” of “outside experts” that would ensure civil liberties were not violated and that the public’s trust restored.
Now, with group’s first report due to the White House in a few weeks, the Associated Press has revealed that four of the “independent” panel’s five members have worked in Democratic Administrations, and the fifth individual was an informal adviser to Obama’s 2008 campaign and the leader of a panel seeking to build Obama’s presidential library in Chicago:
Four of the five review panel members previously worked for Democratic administrations: Peter Swire, former Office of Management and Budget privacy director under President Bill Clinton; Michael Morell, Obama’s former deputy CIA director; Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism coordinator under Clinton and later for President George W. Bush; and Cass Sunstein, Obama’s former regulatory czar. A fifth panel member, Geoffrey Stone of the University of Chicago, leads a university committee looking to build Obama’s presidential library in Chicago and was an informal adviser to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Even the progressive American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) acknowledged the group’s lack of balance.
“We would have liked a more diverse group,” said ACLU legislative counsel Michelle Richardson.