Civil liberties groups are offering faint praise, at most, for the surveillance reforms outlined in President Barack Obama's Friday speech on the National Security Agency, but the White House-appointed NSA review panel seems to be happy. And with the review panel on board, Obama will have one less headache to worry about.
"His speech was excellent. I was quite pleased," said University of Chicago Law School Professor Geoffrey Stone, a member of the panel. "I think at the high level of altitude, he stated the issues very well -- explained the nature of continuing threats, which are real, but also explained the necessity of reviewing things."
The panel, which also included former acting CIA head Michael Morell, Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, Georgia Institute of Technology Professor Peter Swire, and former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, surprised the political world last monthwith a surprisingly tough set of recommendations for NSA reforms. Stone said that he had consulted with other panel members, several whom attended the speech, and they were impressed by it as well.
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