“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”
(“Who is watching the watchers?”)
President Obama promised to appoint a panel of “outside experts” to investigate NSA spying on U.S. citizens. The AP released a report Sunday revealing that the panel operates under the Director of National Intelligence and is comprised primarily of Democratic Party insiders.
[W]ith just weeks remaining before its first deadline to report back to the White House, the review panel has effectively been operating as an arm of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the NSA and all other U.S. spy efforts.
The panel’s advisers work in offices on loan from the DNI. Interview requests and press statements from the review panel are carefully coordinated through the DNI’s press office. James Clapper, the intelligence director, exempted the panel from U.S. rules that require federal committees to conduct their business and their meetings in ways the public can observe. Its final report, when it’s issued, will be submitted for White House approval before the public can read it.
In other words, as Sarah Lazare puts it, “The review panel operates under the very office that oversees the NSA programs the panel is supposed to investigate.” Unscrupulous Democrats may be fine with a deck stacked in their favor, but I can promise you they will howl like wolves under the moon when the next Dick Cheney comes along and turns this monster on them.