The PCLOB Needs a Director

The US Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is looking for a director. Among other things, this board has some oversight role over the NSA. More precisely, it can examine what any executive-branch agency is doing about counterterrorism. So it can examine the program of TSA watchlists, NSA anti-terrorism surveillance, and FBI counterterrorism activities.

The PCLOB was established in 2004 (when it didn’t do much), disappeared from 2007-2012, and reconstituted in 2012. It issued a major report on NSA surveillance in 2014. It has dwindled since then, having as few as one member. Last month, the Senate confirmed three new members, including Ed Felten.

So, potentially an important job if anyone out there is interested.

Posted on November 20, 2018 at 6:44 AM6 Comments


Denton Scratch November 20, 2018 9:18 AM

Felten, eh? If he’s signed up, I’m rather impressed. I didn’t know federal agencies hired known troublemakers like him. He’s a presidential appointee? And the senate endorsed him? Wow.

Oh – he’s not listed as a board member on their website. I guess they need a few more attorneys, to keep the website up-to-date (read the website: each board member has a personal attorney; and the rest of the staff seem to be attorneys too). I wonder how many attorneys the Director gets?

Well, I suppose attorneys need jobs, just like the rest of us. After all, the USA is attorney-land.

Timothy November 20, 2018 10:28 AM

IC on the Record tweeted about an ODNI report that responds to a PCLOB report that was released on October 16, 2018.

I can only view one page of PCLOB’s PPD-28 report, from that page:

On January 17, 2014, President Obama signed Presidential Policy Directive – 28, Signals Intelligence Activities (“PPD-28”), which provides principles to guide “why, whether, when, and how the United States conducts signals intelligence activities[.]”1 The directive recognizes both that “[t]he collection of signals intelligence is necessary for the United States to advance its national security and foreign policy interests and to protect its citizens…

The October 2018 ODNI report response outlines how it has implemented the four recommendations from the PCLOB report. ODNI’s report was prepared by their Office of Civil Liberties, Privacy, and Transparency (CLPT).

An interesting notation from ODNI’s report (notation 6) is that subsequent to PCLOB’s PPD-28 report, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) ‘began receiving unevaluated 702-acquired information as authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.’ The notation says that the NCTC is not authorized to directly engage in targeting or acquisition under its 702-minimization procedures, but it is authorized to receive certain 702-acquired information. To accommodate a PCLOB recommendation, ODNI will be updating its publicly-posted policy acknowledging NCTC’s access to certain unminimized 702 information.

vas pup November 20, 2018 11:05 AM

@Denton: “Well, I suppose attorneys need jobs, just like the rest of us. After all, the USA is attorney-land.” Yeah, and it slowly transformed from rule of Law to rule of lawyers.
I stick to my point: if we have clear and not vogue laws which are drafted in such way (by lawyers by the way) to create milking cow for them, then country will have more electric engineers, other technology professionals, family doctors, psychiatrists you name it which we are of huge shortage rather than army of lawyers (same applied to investing bankers. Please do not consider my statement as declining necessity of lawyers altogether. I am talking about quantity versus quality. With such amount of lawyers per capita we could expect more positive outcome out of all their activities – I mean more real justice(not procedure only) and more affordability for average citizen.

Men in Black November 20, 2018 5:39 PM

TSA watchlists, NSA anti-terrorism surveillance, and FBI counterterrorism activities.

I’m on hundreds of government terrorism ban lists, the Brady Bill, NICS, Gun Control Act of 1968, adjudicated as a mental defective, criminal trespass bans from various government property, basically subject to arrest at any time and place for any reason under any pretext. Not allowed to leave the country. They were “considering” criminal charges against me, but damn, the charges just didn’t quite hold up to reality.

Working to ensure that efforts by the executive branch to protect the nation from terrorism are balanced with the need to protect privacy and civil liberties.

Terrorism? No. There’s nothing to fear but fear itself. Privacy and civil liberties, including the right of any individual to bear arms, have to come first and foremost under the Constitution without being subject to a false dichotomy.

The convicted felon lists, the dishonorable discharge lists, the registered sex offenders lists, the domestic violence lists, the illegal alien lists, the tax cheat lists, the renounced citizenship lists, the bad credit lists, the bad ex-boyfriend lists, the selective service lists, the drug addicts lists, the mental illness lists, the adjudicated mental defectives lists, the social undesirables lists, the LGBTQ lists, the child molester lists — all need to go. The government has made too many enemies by $hitlisting people on various and sundry technicalities and destroying their lives, for one purported reason or another, shutting them out of the job market, impoverishing them out of house and home and pitting them one against another in staged fights on the streets and in the courtrooms, jails, prisons, and hospitals.

It’s a “TMI” (too much information) problem, and they have no shame whatsoever collecting, storing, sharing, and selling more and more of our personal and private information. We do not have enough information on them. We do not know why they turned on us and used our information against us.

Jon (fD) November 20, 2018 6:05 PM

I know a guy who doesn’t have much to do: Say, Mr. Schneier, got anything special planned? J. (fD)

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