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BIASED: Obama’s ‘Independent’ NSA Review Panel Is All-Democratic

NSA review panel

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President Obama’s panel of independent experts to review surveillance efforts of the National Security Agency [1] is a sham, the Associated Press has concluded.

The AP’s journalists discovered that the panelists are far from independent, with all of them having ties to the administration or to a previous Democratic administration. Worse, the panel’s activities appear to be little more than window dressing designed to cover up what many believe are unconstitutional activities.

Some of the conclusions that can be drawn from the AP’s expose include:

“No one can look at this group and say it’s completely independent,” Sascha Meinrath, the director of the Open Technology Institute, a Washington think tank told the AP.

The True Christian Heritage and Christian Ideals That Are Woven Into The Very Fabric Of The Constitution… [3]

The AP’s findings contradict statements that Obama made about the group on Aug. 9, 2013. The president described the panel as an independent group and stated its purpose was to “maintain the trust of the people.”

Congress Preparing to Act

There are now 12 bills in Congress [4] that would curtail surveillance activities or increase government oversight of them, Mother Jones magazine noted. The one most likely to pass at least one body is the FISA Accountability and Privacy Protection Act of 2013, introduced by influential Senator Patrick Leahy (D.-Vermont).

This law would require regular audits of the requests for surveillance and the surveillance programs. It would also require the attorney general to submit regular reports on surveillance to Congress. The administration would be required to issue regular reports on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or FISA Court and its activities to the public. FISA is the secret court that authorizes surveillance.

Patrick Leahy Says Surveillance Oversight No Longer Working

Leahy, who helped create the original FISA court in the 1970s, believes changes are needed to the court.

“I am convinced that the system set up in the 1970s to regulate the surveillance activities of our Intelligence Community is no longer working,” Patrick Leahy said in a speech at Georgetown University [5].

The FISA court was set up to authorize wiretaps on specific individuals, Leahy noted. The technology for mass surveillance did not exist when the original law governing FISA was written. It is now being asked to make decisions on mass surveillance affecting millions of people.

“In fact a whole body of secret law has developed, with considerable implications for our democracy,” Patrick Leahy said.