CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Sunday, August 25, 2013

"Not Exactly an “Outside” Committee to Review NSA Surveillance Programs"

From Orin Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy:

The group might be effective in the end, as they each bring a different skill set and perspective to the problem. I imagine that Swire will be the civil libertarian, Sunstein the pragmatist interested in the facts, and Clarke the government’s guy. (I don’t know anything about Morrell beyond his resume, so I wouldn’t want to speculate how he will fit in.) We’ll have to wait and see what they produce. But I was hoping to see a larger and more diverse group, and one with some technologists who would be able to really master the technical issues. This is a smaller and less diverse group, and one with stronger ties to the Obama Administration than is helpful. Perhaps that was necessary because everyone needed to have a security clearance, which presumably they all have or recently had. But it’s not as large or diverse a group as I would like to see.

| Permalink


Yes, I was hoping to see a more diverse group as well. Swire demonstrated seeking an objective balance between national security objectives and protection of civil liberties in his paper, "The System of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Law", He also signed an amicus brief arguing that NSA's meta-data program is illegal under Section 215.

Sunstein has many civil libertarians worried. He was Obama's Administrator of Information and Regulatory Affairs, considered by many to be one of the most powerful roles in Washington.
He's written a paper advocating government infiltration of conspiracy theorists,

In it he writes, “Those who subscribe to conspiracy theories may create serious risks, including risks of violence, and the existence of such theories raises significant challenges for policy and law,…” “Because those who hold conspiracy theories typically suffer from a crippled epistemology, in accordance with which it is rational to hold such theories, the best response consists in cognitive infiltration of extremist groups. Various policy dilemmas, such as the question whether it is better for government to rebut conspiracy theories or to ignore them, are explored in this light.”

Sounds more like someone who views civil libertarians as extremists, than someone sensitive to upholding privacy rights.

He also co-authored the book, "Nudge", the brains behind the "Nudge Initiative" Behavioral Insights Team which will look for ways to subtly influence people's behavior.


Posted by: Broden Mickelsen | Aug 28, 2013 4:48:46 PM

Post a comment