January 2, 2014 | Posted in: 4th Amendment, 9/11, E.O. 12333, FISA, FISC, Intelligence, NSA

White House Logo

White House Logo

President Obama is currently enjoying the sun, sand, water, and golfing to be found on his annual Hawaiian vacation.  I begrudge no President his time off.  The duties and responsibilities of the office are such that regular time off is a must.

Once he comes back from his vacation, he’ll be getting ready to act on the recommendations of the Presidential Review Group on Intelligence Capabilities and Technologies.  Mr. Michael Moore recently posted an Op-Ed in the Washington Post correcting the record on the Group’s recommendations as they were reported in many newspapers and websites.

Briefly, I think that when the President gives his speech later this month, he will announce, consistent with the current provisions of Executive Order 12333, DoD Regulation 5240.1-R, and USSID 18 that already provide U.S. person privacy protections:

  • Changes to the process the National Security Council uses to establish, vet, and levy intelligence tasking on NSA.
  • Creation of the position of Special Assistant to the President for Privacy, and improvements/changes to the charter and purview of the Privacy & Civil Liberties Oversight Board
  • The FISA 215 (Phone Records Collection Program) & FISA 702 programs will continue
  • NSA will continue to hold the FISA 215 & 702 records, but do so only for two to three years vice five (the phone companies want to charge $50 million a year – EACH to hold the FISA 215 records)
  • Additional transparency will be introduced by means of providing Congress additional details in a classified setting, and providing more general information to the public in unclassified form (e.g. counts of currently operative FISA warrants in use by NSA, number of FISA 215 phone numbers turned over to the FBI, etc.)
  • Request enabling legislation from Congress to:
    • Add a ‘Civil Liberties Counsel’ to participate in the proceedings of the FISA Court
    • Immediate improvements to the security clearance vetting processes, changing the ‘need-to-share’ culture post 9/11 back to a ‘need-to-know’ culture (call it work related if you like, that’s what it will be)
  • Direct immediate improvements to computer network security throughout the Intelligence Community to reduce and eliminate the potential for more Snowden-like actions

It will be two or three weeks, but I look forward to seeing how closely the President comes to meeting my predictions.



I've served my country for more than 25 years as a member of the United States Air Force, both on active duty and as a civilian. I've spent my entire career as a member of the Air Force’s Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency and its predecessor organizations, the Air Intelligence Agency, the Air Force Intelligence Command, and the Electronic Security Command. I've served in various locations throughout the world during my career, including Japan & Saudi Arabia. I am a veteran of the 1991 Persian Gulf War. I also earned professional certifications from the National Security Agency as an Intelligence Analyst, and the Director of National Intelligence as an Intelligence Community Officer during my career. I have an M.S. in Computer Systems from the University of Maryland Graduate School of Management and Technology, and am a Certified Information Systems Security Professional.