Politico reports: The White House dismissed the bulk of President Barack Obama’s premier panel of outside intelligence advisers earlier this year, leaving the blue-ribbon commission largely vacant as the public furor built over the National Security Agency’s widespread tracking of Americans’ telephone calls.
The President’s Intelligence Advisory Board stood 14 members strong through 2012, but the White House website was recently updated to show the panel’s roster shrinking to just four people.
In the past four years, the high-powered group has waded into the implications of WikiLeaks for intelligence sharing, and urged retooling of America’s spy agencies as the United States withdraws from big wars abroad.
Some analysts say the panel would have been an obvious choice to dig into the profound questions and concerns contractor Edward Snowden raised by leaking details about the NSA’s bulk collection of telephone metadata and internet traffic.
But the board’s thin ranks at present — and the remaining members’ close ties to Obama — may have fueled the decision the president announced last week to turn instead to a brand new and still unnamed body of outside experts to delve into the privacy issues raised by surveillance in the “Big Data” age.
Two PIAB members confirmed to POLITICO this week that they were asked to leave the longstanding panel as part of a broader reshuffle.