Skip to comments.Mysterious privacy board touted by Obama has deep government ties
Posted on 06/21/2013 6:59:13 PM PDT by Nachum
The body charged by President Obama with protecting the civil liberties and privacy of the American people exists in shadows almost as dark as the intelligence agencies it is designed to oversee. The Privacy & Civil Liberties Board (PCLOB) was due to meet Obama at the White House on Friday afternoon at 3pm in the situation room to discuss growing concerns over US surveillance of phone and internet records or, at least, that´s what unnamed "senior administration officials" said would happen. The meeting did not appear on the president´s official diary issued to journalists, nor has
(Excerpt) Read more at guardian.co.uk ...
The list, Ping
Let me know if you would like to be on or off the ping list
This administration is like something straight out of “1984”
Ministry of Privacy= miniprivy. Something stinks.
Sounds like Mooch’s hospital job, a CYA sinecure.
Who sits on this Board.
It is, in fact, in it's decadent lust for ultimate power, the leading cause of the loss of those liberties and freedoms, notwithstanding the socialists/imperialists/dictator-wannabes the people keep getting hood-winked into electing to the office of the President.
“This administration is like something straight out of 1984
More like straight out of Pol Pot’s friendly group.
The SITUATION ROOM????? Isn’t that for WAR Situations???
Libs I will dig on all of them first Wald
Upon her retirement, Judge Wald accepted an appointment to serve on the 14 member panel of judges of the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague, where she spent the next two years hearing cases on wartime atrocities in the former Yugoslavia. It was arduous work for Judge Wald. The trials in the Tribunal lasted, on average, fifteen months, many much longer. There was the obstacle of language and no uniform set of rules for the judges to apply. It was a grueling process for all involved. Judge Wald became a leader of the Tribunal and established a standard for fairness and the rule of law. As a result of her dedication to those principles, the lessons learned will vastly improve future international courts.
Judge Wald now serves as Chair of the Open Society Institutes Criminal Justice Initiative.
This one helped write the act was a Bush Asst Ag, more elite incest.
Okay, working at the U.S. Department of Justice may not be a party these days. But the recently announced, imminent departure of Assistant Attorney General Rachel L. Brand her last day at the DOJs Office of Legal Policy is July 9 had nothing to do with recent controversies (contrary to some insinuations).
As tout le monde in D.C. legal circles knows, the fabulous Brand known to some as the Prom Queen was planning to step down for some time. The reason? She and her husband, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Cohn, are expecting a baby boy next month.
The lede of this Reuters report, while technically accurate, is therefore misleading. Thankfully, the Washington Post was more accurate:
[T]he Justice Department announced that Rachel Brand, assistant attorney general for legal policy, is resigning
Justice officials said she plans to leave July 9 and stay at home with her first child, due this summer.
Brand, who worked on the renewal of the USA Patriot Act last year and the confirmation of two Supreme Court justices in 2005, is not known to have played a direct role in the U.S. attorneys removal.
[N]ot known to have played a direct role maybe because she didnt? If she had, rest assured that Chuck & Friends would have invited her over to Capitol Hill for a televised chat.
[D]epartment officials have said that Gonzaless former chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson, asked her whether she might want to replace a Michigan prosecutor who was forced out. Though interested at first, Brand did not apply for the job.
Yes, Brand shrewdly did not throw her hat into that ring. As we previously noted:
In declining to be considered, Rachel Brand showed the excellent judgment that has taken her so far, so fast. Had Rachel Brand replaced Margaret Chiara, she would have been the victim of a mainstream media pile-on. The New York Times editorial board would have derided her as a Bush Administration political hack with no prosecutorial experience (albeit a hack with impeccable academic credentials, including Harvard Law School and a Supreme Court clerkship with Justice Kennedy).
So whats next for Rachel Brand (in addition to a bouncing baby boy)? Shes rumored to be meeting with various private law firms and any of them would be lucky to snag this young legal superstar.
Brand has devoted the past six and a half years of her career to government service. She leaves the Bush Administration even more highly esteemed, on both sides of the aisle, than when she came in. This is no small feat, given the controversies that have shaken the DOJ, as well as the highly partisan atmosphere currently prevailing here in Washington.
Here is Brands husband;
Cohn Returns to Sidley Austin
Jonathan Cohn, who recently stepped down as one the Justice Departments top civil lawyers, is returning to Sidley Austin as a partner in the firms appellate practice.
Cohn handled several high-profile assignments at Justice, including Arar v. Ashcroft, in which a Canadian citizen alleged that American authorities spirited him away to Syria, where he spent a year in confinement and was tortured. A decision is pending in the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.
In 2007, Cohn argued the governments case in Abigail Alliance v. Eschenbach in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, successfully defending the Food and Drug Administrations position that terminally ill patients have no constitutional right to unapproved drugs.
Sidley Austin LLP, formerly known as Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP, is one of the oldest law firms in the world. It is the sixth-largest US-based corporate law firm with over 1,800 lawyers, annual revenues of more than one billion dollars, and offices in 16 cities worldwide.
He has ties to Cass I think. Many links not working on his search. Can’t find anything on a wife.
June 21, 2013
Obama to talk to sham privacy board about NSA snooping
The Hill has the background on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), a group that was created 8 years ago and just last month sawits 5th and final member confirmed.
Does this sound like a sham to you?
The panel was first suggested in the 2004 report by the 9/11 Commission, and was first launched that year. In 2007, the group was granted independent powers, but both Presidents George W. Bush and Obama resisted nominating members for years.
The panel operated without offices or staff for years, and the fifth and final member Chairman David Medine was only confirmed last month, by a narrow 53-45 party line vote.
The board still lacks a website, and until Medines appointment, had only two federal staffers pulled from other government agencies. It had held only two meetings before a briefing earlier this week, the first since the top-secret NSA programs were revealed by 29-year old defense contractor Edward Snowden.
Still, the White House believes that meeting with the panel can help assuage privacy concerns voiced since the revelation of the NSA programs. The senior administration official said the boards functions included ensuring that the need for such actions is balanced with the need to protect privacy and civil liberties.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Medine said senior officials at the NSA, FBI, and Justice Department explained how some of the NSA programs functioned in a meeting with the five panelists Wednesday.
Based on what weve learned so far, further questions are warranted, he told the wire service.
Medine also said the group plans a public meeting on July 9, and will publish a report that includes analysis of and recommendations for the NSA programs. By law, the board is required to report to Congress not less than semiannually.
This is a crock. ...
May 7, 2013
Grassley Statement on David Medine to be Chairman, Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board
Can you find any ties to him and Cass Sunstien? Also is he married? I saw a few ties but links were not working. Imagine that.
No One Knew Anything; Sound Familiar??
Carol Weil to Marry Prof. David Medine
Published: January 18, 1987
Ms. Weil, until recently a lawyer for the American College of Physicians in Washington, expects to join the Indianapolis law firm of Baker & Daniels as an associate in March. She graduated from Pomona College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and the law school at the University of California at Berkeley, where she was a member of The Law Review. Her father is chairman of the department of medicine at the University of the Health Sciences/Chicago Medical School in North Chicago, Ill. Her mother, Marianne Posner Weil, is a psychologist for the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Mr. Medine, an associate professor of law at Indiana University at Bloomington, was formerly an associate at the Washington law firm Covington & Burling. He graduated from the Friends Seminary in New York, Hampshire College and the University of Chicago Law School. His father was an attending ophthalmologist at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. His mother, who is retired, was known professionally as Dr. Ruth Cortell and was the associate medical director of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in New York.
Cass R. Sunstein
Cass R. Sunstein is currently the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Mr. Sunstein graduated in 1975 from Harvard College and in 1978 from Harvard Law School magna cum laude. After graduation, he clerked for Justice Benjamin Kaplan of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court, and then he worked as an attorney-advisor in the Office of the Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice. He was a faculty member at the Law School from 1981 to 2008.
University of Chicago Law School
Program Director, Ethical and Regulatory Affairs, National Cancer Institute
Washington D.C. Metro Area
I am heading out but will read later. You are the best at FR. I will get to a few friends.
Have sent link to this thread to several as you did the heavy lifting.
Maggief: Some bio facts in these links on the principals.
JoeProBono: From your excellent link:
PCLOB [out-dated, but useful, Wiki entry: Privacy & Civil Liberties Oversight Board] is to consist of a chairman plus four other members, each serving a 6-year term.
David Medine, Chairman (confirmed May 2013)
James Dempsey (confirmed on Aug 2, 2012)
Elisebeth Cook (confirmed on Aug 2, 2012)
Rachel Brand (confirmed on Aug 2, 2012)
Patricia Wald (confirmed on Aug 2, 2012)
Why didn't Senate confirm Medine back in 2012?
What it is: The Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (.pdf) established the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board as an independent agency within the executive branch. The law says PCLOB's purpose is to
What it will do: The 2007 law tasks PCLOB with a range of activities, including to
Reports: PCLOB's reports are supposed to describe its major activities, along with findings and recommendations. It must note any proposals that it advised against that the government implemented anyway. It also must note the times that the attorney general denied its requests for subpoenas.
Subpoenas and access: PCLOB can have access to executive branch records and interview any of its personnel. It also can request information or assistance from state, local and tribal governments.
The majority of PCLOB's members can vote to request that the attorney general subpoena people to produce records or testimonial evidence. Within 30 days of the request, the attorney general must either issue the subpoena or explain in writing why it won't. When the latter happens, PCLOB must notify the House and Senate judiciary committees within another 30 days.
The American Civil Liberties Union has criticized the law for not giving PCLOB its own subpoena power. That it must go through the attorney general is a "cumbersome barrier and a real threat to its independence," the ACLU's Chris Calabrese wrote in May.
First incarnation: PCLOB originally existed within the Executive Office of the President, as established by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (.pdf). But it was reconstituted in 2007 as a result of concerns about its independence.
Years of vacancy: The Senate never acted on President Bush's 2008 nominations, and President Obama didn't announce a full slate of nominees until December 2011, four of whom the Senate confirmed in August.
Current members: PCLOB is to consist of a chairman plus four other members, each serving a 6-year term. The Senate confirmed James Dempsey, Elisebeth Cook, Rachel Brand and Patricia Wald on Aug. 2, but did not act on the nominee for chairman, David Medine.
One crucial vacancy remains: The lack of a chairman will limit PCLOB, particularly because the law charges the chairman with hiring the board's staff. Peter Swire, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, told FierceHomelandSecurity, "The four confirmed members of the board are very capable individuals. The real work of oversight, however, requires staff to be in place." Swire served as the Clinton administration's chief counselor for privacy from 1999 to 2001.
While PCLOB cannot hire staff without a chairman, the law does say any federal employee can be detailed to PCLOB without reimbursement. PCLOB can also hire consultants. Neither of those provisions requires the chairman's involvement.
PCLOB can also meet without its chairman, so long as a majority of its members call for a meeting. Three members constitutes a quorum.
What PCLOB could be doing now: The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (.pdf) is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2012. But "right now Congress is legislating in the dark" as it considers reauthorization, said Greg Nojiem, director of the Center for Democracy & Technology's project on freedom, security and technology. A functional PCLOB could shed light on how that law has been used so far.
Nojiem said he'd also like to see whether the nation's fusion centers are monitoring political dissent instead of just monitoring threats.
During an April hearing where the five PCLOB nominees testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, senators asked many questions about how they'd approach cybersecurity. But Nojiem predicted that PCLOB will instead start on issues that are strictly related to terrorism, at least until it receives a clearer mandate about how its role pertains to cyber issues.
PCLOB should also balance its public and behind-the-scenes roles, Nojiem added. He offered the 9/11 Commission as a model of the impact that could be made if PCLOB keeps the public informed.
"But it also has to gain the trust of executive branch officials if it's going to do its work," he said.
Scrubbed reference (found on WayBack) to another PCLOB meeting:
PRIVACY AND CIVIL LIBERTIES OVERSIGHT BOARD
[NoticePCLOB201302; Docket No. 20130004; Sequence No. 2]
Sunshine Act Meeting (lol)
April 18, 2013 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
PCLOB nominees ready to hear the government's case for security measures
SUMMARY: The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is issuing this rule to provide information to the public about the Board's organization, function, and operations.
DATES: This rule is effective June 5, 2013.
Two more names in June 7, 2013 PCLOB letter to DNI Clapper signed by Medine
Susan Reingold [Chief Administrative Officer]
cc to all the PCLOB board members and also Alex Joel, ODNI Civil Liberties and Privacy Office
Obama meets with privacy watchdog panel in private
“Why didn’t Senate confirm Medine back in 2012?”
May 7, 2013
Grassley Statement on David Medine to be Chairman, Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board
Prepared Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee
the Nomination of David Medine to be
Chairman, Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Mr./Madam President, I oppose the nomination of David Medine to be the Chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which is commonly referred to as the PCLOB.
Mr. Medine was nominated for this position during last Congress and the Judiciary Committee, where I serve as the Ranking Member, held a hearing on his nomination in April 2012.
At the hearing, I asked a number of questions about the various national security statutes that the Board is tasked with overseeing. This included questions about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the PATRIOT Act.
Specifically, I asked for his views on these laws. Unfortunately, the responses I received failed to provide his views. He simply stated that he would balance the views of the government against the boards mandate to review privacy.
I also asked Mr. Medine about his views on the use of law enforcement versus military authorities for combatting terrorism.
I was disappointed that he failed to answer a basic yes or no question about National Security law: Do you believe that we are engaged in a war on terrorism?
Instead, of a simple yes or no, he opted for a more limited answer that military power is permissible in appropriate cases.
This technical answer gives me pauseespecially in light of the continued threat we face from international terrorist organizations.
Perhaps the most concerning response he provided was to another simple constitutional law question. I asked all the board nominees an important question about the use or profiling based upon country of origin for immigration purposes.
The Constitution provides broad discretion to the government for purposes of immigration. Each year the government places quotas or caps on how many and what types of visas are allowed for each particular country.
For example, if we face a threat from an unfriendly nation, it is important that we have the ability to limit immigration from that country. At the least, immigration and customs agents and consular officers should be able to make decisions of admissibility solely on country of origin.
I asked this same question to the other four current members of the board. Two Democrats and two Republicans. They all answered the same way, that foreign nationals do not have the same constitutional or statutory rights as citizens and therefore U.S. officials should be able use this as a factor in admissibility determinations.
In contrast to the other four nominees, Mr. Medine argued that use of country of origin as the sole purpose was inappropriate.
Specifically, Mr. Medine noted that it would be inappropriate for the federal government to profile foreign nationals from high-risk countries based solely upon the country of origin.
This is troubling.
As the other four nominees noted, foreign nationals do not have the same constitutional or statutory rights as U.S. persons and the government may, lawfully and appropriately, use country of origin as a limiting factor for purposes of admission to the United States.
I think this is especially concerning given the recent attacks in Boston and the concerns surrounding potential holes in our immigration system related to student visa overstays.
Say the government learns of a terrorist plot undertaken by individuals from a specific country. Under the view advocated by Mr. Medine, excluding all individuals from that nation, even for a defined period of time, would be inappropriate.
Instead, under his view, even faced with this threat, it would only justify heightened scrutiny of visitors from that country when the individual was linked to other information about the plot.
This is a dangerous view of our governments authority to control admission into the country.
Terrorism is fresh on everyones mind following the recent attacks in Boston, but the need to remain vigilant against a terrorist threat should not rise and fall based upon our proximity to an attack.
The terrorist attacks on 9/11 changed the way the government viewed terrorism and those who want to kill Americans.
We are now nearly twelve years released from 9/11. Some may believe that we now have the means in place for restricting admission based only upon specific intelligence of a plot.
But that view is the type of thinking that allows us to let down our guard.
Those who seek to kill Americans are not letting down their guard and are always looking for ways to attack Americans and our way of life.
We can see this with the new tactics that they use, such as the failed underwear bombing, the attempted Times Square Bombing, and the recent attacks in Boston.
It is through this lens that I view Mr. Medines answer and why I oppose his nomination to a board overseeing critical national security laws.
While I agree we should always work to ensure that intelligence information is utilized in a manner most likely to achieve the desired result, there are scenarios where we may need to block entry to all members of a certain country.
For example, would Mr. Medines view apply to wartime situations?
Would we have to admit those whose country was at war with the U.S.?
I think his answers point to a dangerous worldview that is out of touch with the threat we face from global terrorist organizations that seek to kill Americans.
It is thinking that deviates from basic constitutional principles our government was founded on. Namely, the ability to protect our citizens by limiting entry into the country.
This is a very serious matter given the boards oversight of national security law.
Given these concerns, I joined my colleagues in opposing Mr. Medines nomination when the Judiciary Committee voted on him in February.
That party line vote mirrored the same party line vote from the previous Congresseven though the Committee now has different members.
Above all, I fear that a nomination that is as polarizing as this could cloud the legitimate work of the board.
This board is tasked with reviewing some of the most sensitive national security matters we face.
If the board issues a partisan decision, led by Mr. Medine, it will be discredited because of these controversial fundamental beliefs Mr. Medine holds.
These national security issues are already polarizingjust look to any debate in Congress on FISA or the PATRIOT Act. Adding partisan fueled reports to the fire would only exacerbate these difficult matters.
Given these concerns, I oppose Mr. Medines nomination and urge my colleagues to do the same. A vote against this nominee is a vote to preserve the legitimate tools to help keep America safe.
I yield the floor.