Despite the enormity of Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations, some US senators who are in the know but are forbidden to speak openly are hinting that what has already been revealed is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’.
As a result of the uproar the revelations have caused about the illegal spying and invasions of privacy by the US government, president Obama promised an extensive review of the program by an independent group. But it should come as no surprise that the panel reportedly consists almost entirely of insiders with close ties to the national security state with just one person who might just marginally fit the idea of ‘independent’. The net result is not much better than what cartoonist Tom Tomorrow predicted.
The review of US surveillance programs which Barack Obama promised would be conducted by an “independent” and “outside” panel of experts looks set to consist of four Washington insiders with close ties to the security establishment.
The president announced the creation of the group of experts two weeks ago, in an attempt to stem the rising tide of anger over National Security Agency surveillance techniques disclosed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Obama trumpeted what he said would be a “high-level group of outside experts” tasked with assessing all of the government’s “intelligence and communication technologies”.
However a report by ABC News, which has not been denied by the administration, said the panel would consist of Michael Morell, a recent acting head of the CIA, and three former White House advisers.
The list of apparent panel members prompted criticism among privacy and civil liberty advocates, who said the review would lack credibility and was unlikely to end the controversy over US surveillance capabilities.
It looks like Obama cannot even be bothered to try and mask his contempt for us. But since this list was not officially confirmed, maybe he will include at least one person with some credibility among privacy advocates. But I wouldn’t bet on it.