Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) - Members
The PIDB consists of nine members, five appointed by the President, and one each by the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House, and the Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate. The PIDB’s founding statute requires the appointment of U.S. citizens who are preeminent in the fields of history, national security, foreign policy, intelligence policy, social science, law, or archival science.
Acting Chair and Vice Chair Alissa M. Starzak was appointed on February 27, 2018, to serve on the Board by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer. The current authorizing legislation extends her term to February 15, 2022. On September 20, 2016, the Majority Leader of the Senate appointed Kenneth L. Wainstein to serve a second term on the Board, which the current authorizing legislation extends to September 8, 2020. On July 1, 2020, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed John F. Tierney to a new three-year term on the Board until June 30, 2023.
Current Members Biographies
Alissa M. Starzak was appointed on February 27, 2018, by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer. She has served as Acting Chair and Vice Chair since June 5, 2020. The current authorizing legislation extends her term to February 15, 2022. Presently, Ms. Starzak is Head of Public Policy at Cloudflare, a web security and optimization company. Prior to joining Cloudflare, Ms. Starzak worked for the U.S government in a variety of national security positions. Most recently, she served as the 21st General Counsel of the U.S. Department of the Army, after confirmation by the Senate. As General Counsel of the Army, she was the primary legal counsel to the Secretary of the Army and the Army’s chief legal officer. Her appointment as Army General Counsel followed service as the Deputy General Counsel for Legislation at the U.S. Department of Defense, where she advised on legal issues with a legislative or congressional component, and managed an office of attorneys responsible for developing the Department of Defense legislative program. Prior to moving to the Department of Defense, Ms. Starzak served as Counsel to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, focusing on legal issues relating to intelligence collection and covert action, and as an Assistant General Counsel at the Central Intelligence Agency’s Office of General Counsel. She also worked in private practice in Washington, D.C., and clerked for The Honorable E. Grady Jolly, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. She graduated from Amherst College and the University of Chicago Law School, where she served as an editor of the University of Chicago Law Review. Ms. Starzak is serving her first term on the PIDB.
On July 1, 2020, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed John F. Tierney to a new three-year term on the Board. He previously was appointed by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives on July 11, 2017, for a three-year term that was extended to June 29, 2021 in the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. He resigned his position on the Board on June 30, 2020 to realign the House of Representatives appointments. His current three-year term will end on June 30, 2023. He is presently Executive Director at the Center for Arms Control & Non-Proliferation and its sister organization, The Council for a Livable World. His work focuses on national security issues, nuclear non-proliferation, missile defense and areas concerning peace and security. Mr. Tierney is a former nine-term Massachusetts Congressman who served on the House Intelligence Committee and chaired the National Security and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee of the Government Oversight and Reform Committee. His 18-year career included oversight of the Government Accountability Office’s annual assessment of the Pentagon’s Weapons Selection Programs and reform of overall Pentagon spending. Additionally, Mr. Tierney was a senior member of the Education and Workforce Committee of the House, where he served as Ranking Member on the Health, Employment, Labor and Pension Subcommittee, and served on the Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee where he had a prominent role in several Higher Education Reauthorization and Workforce Opportunity Reauthorization Acts and related legislation. Prior to being elected to Congress, Mr. Tierney was a Partner in the law firm Tierney, Kalis and Lucas, counsel for several community governments, a Trustee of Salem State College (now University) and member and President of the local Chamber of Commerce. He holds a B.A. from Salem State College and J.D. from Suffolk University Law School.
Kenneth L. Wainstein was reappointed to the Board by Sen. Mitch McConnell as Majority Leader of the Senate on September 20, 2016. The current authorizing legislation extends his term to September 8, 2020. He currently is a partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, where he specializes in white collar and criminal defense and corporate investigations. He is an adjunct professor of law at the Georgetown University Center of Law. He previously was a partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP. Previously, Mr. Wainstein served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, first in the Southern District of New York and then in the District of Columbia. In 2001, he served as the Director of the Executive office for U.S. Attorneys. In 2002, Mr. Wainstein joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation as General Counsel. FBI Director Robert S. Mueller appointed him Chief of Staff in 2003. Mr. Wainstein was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia in 2004, a position he held until his appointment as Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the Justice Department in 2006. As the first Assistant Attorney General for National Security, he established and led the new National Security Division, which consolidated the Justice Department’s law enforcement and intelligence activities on counter-terrorism and counterintelligence matters. In 2008, after 19 years at the Justice Department, Mr. Wainstein was named Homeland Security Advisor by President George W. Bush. As the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counter-Terrorism, he advised the President on all homeland security matters, chaired the Homeland Security Council, and oversaw the inter-agency coordination process for homeland security and counter-terrorism programs. Mr. Wainstein holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Mr. Wainstein is serving his second term on the Board.