The Already Abysmal NSA Surveillance Panel Is Now On Hold Due To The Government Shutdown

Under-promise, and then under-under-deliver is the name of this game. The panel to vet the NSA set up by President Barack Obama, and nurtured by current Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, is now on hiatus, its funds being frozen as part of the larger governmental shutdown.

The panel, one of the president’s small promises in the wake of sweeping leaks concerning the actions of America’s intelligence and surveillance apparatus, was to contain outsiders who could take a critical look at the actions of the NSA, investigating their legality and relationship to personal privacy.

Instead, the panel was a miasma of what I called “insiders, former insiders, and a previous colleague of the president’s.” For example, one member is Michael Morell. He was the CIA’s director until August. I’m sure he is bursting with enthusiasm for change.

Following the revelation that the makeup of the panel itself left it neutered out of the gate, it later became known that Mr. Clapper’s offices house the group and manages its public relations operation. The panel, at that moment, moved from potential laugh to utter farce.

And now it’s iced until Congress kicks off again. According to Politico, who broke the news of the panel’s shuttering, the funds in place to allow for travel to Washington for its members are now unavailable. Given that the participants, it points out, work for free, they can go on if they wish, but it’s effectively on hold for the time being.

What will the result of this be? That our impending disappointment at the panel’s future set of recommendations will disappoint us a bit later than expected. Oh, and don’t forget that whatever the panel does produce, the White House has to approve it for public distribution. So, we might get nothing at all, slightly later.


Top Image Credit: ttarasiuk