NSA Spying Oversight Group Very Closely Tied To White House

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Revelations over the past few years about how U.S. security officials have the ability to track people through phone, email and other electronic records are making it harder for journalists to report on what the government is doing, two human rights groups say.  (PAUL J.RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Revelations over the past few years about how U.S. security officials have the ability to track people through phone, email and other electronic records are making it harder for journalists to report on what the government is doing, two human rights groups say. (PAUL J.RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — With just weeks remaining before its first deadline, a review panel chosen by President Barack Obama to boost public trust in government surveillance programs has effectively been operating as an arm of the office that oversees those programs.

The advisers work in offices on loan from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Its meetings so far have been closed to the public, and all statements from the review panel are carefully coordinated through the DNI’s press office. James Clapper, the intelligence director, exempted the panel from U.S. rules that require federal committees to conduct their business and their meetings in ways the public can observe.

Even the panel’s official name suggests it’s run by Clapper’s office: “Director of National Intelligence Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies.”

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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