As delivered by Ambassador Daniel B. Baer
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
December 19, 2013
Without prejudice to previously requested rights of reply, because a number of colleagues have raised related questions, I wanted to note that yesterday President Obama met with his Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies — Richard Clarke, Michael Morell, Geoffrey Stone, Cass Sunstein and Peter Swire — to discuss the report they submitted to the President on December 13.
This meeting offered President Obama an opportunity to hear directly from the group’s members and discuss the thinking behind the 46 recommendations in their report. The President noted that the group’s report represented a consensus view, particularly significant given the broad scope of the members’ expertise in counterterrorism, intelligence, oversight, privacy and civil liberties. The President again stated his expectation that, in light of new technologies, the United States use its intelligence collection capabilities in a way that optimally protects our national security while supporting our foreign policy, respecting privacy and civil liberties, maintaining the public trust, and reducing the risk of unauthorized disclosure. The President expressed his personal appreciation to the group members for the extraordinary work that went into producing this comprehensive and high quality report, and outlined for the group how he intends to utilize their work.
Over the next several weeks, as we bring to a close the Administration’s overall review of signals intelligence, the President will work with his national security team to study the Review Group’s report, and to determine which recommendations we should implement. The President will also continue consulting with Congress as reform proposals are considered in each chamber.
You can find the Review Group’s report on the White House website. While the Administration’s internal review is ongoing, including our review of the report itself, we will not be in a position to comment on the proposals made by the Review Group. In January, the President looks forward to speaking to the American people, as well as to the international community, to outline the outcomes of our work, including our plans to address the Review Group’s recommendations.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.