The five-member Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, named by President Obama earlier this year, took aim at some of the National Security Agency’s most controversial practices in its report released Wednesday. The White House is free to accept, reject or modify the panel’s ideas. The review group has been criticized for not having enough members who are truly independent of the administration and for a lack of tech expertise. Here’s a look at who’s on the panel:

Richard Clarke: He was the chief counter-terrorism adviser on the National Security Council under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, after working in the State Department during the Reagan administration and on counter-terrorism under George H.W. Bush.

Michael Morell: The former deputy director of the CIA resigned earlier this year. He had been with the agency for 33 years and twice served as acting director. He delivered the President’s Daily Brief to George W. Bush. He said he was “probably the only person on the planet” by the president’s side on two momentous occasions: Sept. 11, 2001, and “when we brought Osama bin Laden to justice.”

Geoffrey Stone: The University of Chicago law professor is a former dean of that law school and provost of the university. He has written about government secrecy and criticized the makeup of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in a July opinion piece. He has written books that include: “Top Secret: When Our Government Keeps Us in the Dark” and “War and Liberty: An American Dilemma.” Stone hired Obama at the University of Chicago law school and advised his 2008 campaign. After the Edward Snowden leaks, Stone described Obama as a “rational civil libertarian” rather than a passionate one.

Cass Sunstein: Sunstein was an intellectual mentor to the president and the White House’s regulatory czar from 2009 to 2012. His oversight of new rules sometimes frustrated Obama’s allies. Sunstein left the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to go back to the job he left, professor at Harvard Law School. In 2008, Sunstein wrote a working paper that suggested that government agents or allies “cognitively infiltrate conspiracy theorist groups online, A ndrea Peterson pointed out on The Switch in August. He’s married to Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Read the report


A report from the five-member Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies contains 40-plus recommendations on the NSA. Read it.

Peter Swire: The Georgia Tech professor was also on the Obama-Biden transition team and worked as a special assistant to Obama for economic policy. Swire previously worked in the Clinton administration as chief counselor for privacy at the Office of Management and Budget, where his reach extended across government agencies to coordinate privacy policy.