NARA and Declassification

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 archives. 

On December 6, 2023, President Joseph R. Biden appointed Mary DeRosa to a two-year term as Chair of the Public Interest Declassification Board. Ms. DeRosa was appointed to the PIDB to serve a three-year term beginning on October 10, 2023.

Alissa M. Starzak, elected by the PIDB members as Vice Chair in 2018, served as Acting Chair from January 11-December 5, 2023. First appointed on February 27, 2018, to serve a three-year term on the PIDB by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer. In 2022, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer appointed Ms. Starzak for a second three-year term that will end on February 14, 2025.

President Joseph Biden first appointed Laura A. DeBonis to serve from November 30, 2021, to December 29, 2023,  and reappointed Ms. DeBonis to a second three-year term that will end on January 10, 2027.  President Biden appointed the following members to serve three-year terms: Mary DeRosa and Carmen Medina to serve from October 10, 2023 to October 9, 2026; and Andrew Byrnes and David Hickton to serve from January 11, 2024, to January 10, 2027.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appointed Carter Burwell to serve on the PIDB for a three-year term beginning on February 15, 2022.

Current Members Biographies 

Presidential Appointees

Andrew Byrnes

Andrew Byrnes was appointed by President Joseph Biden to a three-year term on the Board from January 11, 2024, to January 10, 2027. Andrew C. Byrnes has spent over 25 years working with innovative companies as a leader in legal, government relations, public policy and corporate communications. He is the Founder and Principal of Byrnes Impact, a consulting firm driving growth at the intersection of innovation, business and public policy. He is also the Founder of Adventures in Syncopation, which supports entrepreneurs supercharged by their performing arts experience through community and investment. His past professional experience includes serving as the principal general counsel for Uber's global rideshare business, a senior legal and public affairs executive at several venture-backed and public technology companies, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office under President Barack Obama, and partner at Covington and Burling, LLP focusing on intellectual property and political law matters. He is a Fellow of the U.S.-Japan Leadership Program. Mr. Byrnes received his B.A. in political science from Stanford University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Laura A. DeBonis            

Laura A. DeBonis was appointed by President Joseph Biden to serve a term on the Board from November 30, 2021, through December 29, 2023.* President Biden appointed Ms. DeBonis to serve a second three-year term from January 11, 2024, to January 10, 2027. Ms. DeBonis previously served on the PIDB from 2015-2018 as an appointee of President Barack Obama. She has over 20 years of experience in the information technology and media fields. She currently serves as a board member and treasurer for the Digital Public Library of America, an organization dedicated to creating an open network of online resources from libraries, archives, and museums and making them freely available to all.  Her past professional experience includes a variety of leadership roles at Google, including her last position there as the Director of Library Partnerships for Book Search. Since Google, Ms. DeBonis has been a consultant to business startups and non-profit organizations, including chairing the technology review team for the Internet Safety Technical Task Force at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University. Ms. DeBonis is an emerita trustee for the WGBH Educational Foundation in Boston and has also served as a trustee of the Boston Public Library. She received a B.A. from Harvard College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. Ms. DeBonis is serving her second term on the PIDB.

Mary DeRosa (Chair)

Mary DeRosa was appointed by President Joseph Biden to a three-year term on the Board from October 10, 2023, to October 9, 2026. Ms. DeRosa is a Professor from Practice and co-director of the Global Law Scholars Program at the Georgetown University Law Center. She served as deputy assistant and deputy counsel to the President and as National Security Council legal adviser in the Obama Administration. After leaving the White House in the Summer of 2011, she served as alternate representative of the United States to the 66th Session of the U.N. General Assembly, an Ambassador-level position with the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Prior to joining the Obama Administration in 2009, Professor DeRosa was Chief Counsel for National Security for the Senate Judiciary Committee, working for the Chairman, Senator Patrick Leahy. She has also been a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, served on the staff of the Clinton Administration National Security Council as legal adviser and deputy legal adviser, and was special counsel to the general counsel at the Department of Defense. Before joining the government, Professor DeRosa was in private practice at Arnold & Porter. She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Richard Cardamone, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

David Hickton

David Hickton was appointed by President Joseph Biden to a three-year term on the Board from January 11, 2024, to January 10, 2027. David J. Hickton founded the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security in 2017. Mr. Hickton also has faculty appointments as a professor in the School of Law, the School of Computing and Information, and the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Mr. Hickton served as staff director and senior counsel to the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis from May 2020 – June 2021. Prior to coming to Pitt, Hickton served as United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. He was nominated by former President Barack Obama on May 20, 2010, and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Aug. 5, 2010. He was sworn in as the District's 57th U.S. Attorney in August 2010 and served through November 2016. Mr. Hickton previously engaged in the private practice of law, specifically in the areas of transportation, litigation, commercial, and white-collar crime. He began his legal career serving as a law clerk for the Honorable U. S. District Judge Gustave Diamond from 1981 to 1983. For more than a decade, Mr. Hickton was an adjunct professor at the Duquesne University School of Law, where he taught antitrust. A fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County, he has been admitted before numerous courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. At the request of President Bill Clinton, he previously served on the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Mr. Hickton currently serves as the managing trustee of the National Opioid Abatement Trust II, he is a senior advisor to the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a Distinguished Fellow of the Azure Forum for Contemporary Security Studies. He is on the board of directors of the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission,  Ameriserv Financial Inc., and the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. He is a non-resident senior advisor at the Center for Strategic & International Studies and a distinguished fellow of the Azure Forum for Contemporary Security Strategy. Mr. Hickton is a 1978 graduate of the Pennsylvania State University and a 1981 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Carmen Medina

Carmen Medina was appointed by President Joseph Biden to a three-year term on the Board from October 10, 2023, to October 9, 2026. Ms. Medina, a retired senior federal executive with 32 years of experience in the intelligence community, is a recognized national and international expert on intelligence analysis, strategic thinking, diversity of thought, and innovation and intrapreneurs in the public sector. She is the co-author of the book, Rebels at Work: A Handbook for Leading Change from Within. From 2005-2007 Ms. Medina was part of the executive team that led the CIA’s Analysis Directorate. She was a leader on diversity issues at the CIA, serving on equity boards at all organizational levels and across directorates. She was the first CIA executive to conceptualize many IT applications now used by analysts, including blogs, online production, and collaborative tools; she personally gave the approval for Intellipedia. As a senior executive, Ms. Medina in 2005 began using social networking and blogs to reach her diverse workforce. In her last assignment before retiring she oversaw the CIA’s Lessons Learned program. She is the recipient of the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal. She is currently active in mentoring women in the national security field as a founding member of Amazing Women in the Intelligence Community and serves on the boards of the National Intelligence University and the National Security Institute.

Congressional Appointees 

Carter Burwell

On January 13, 2022, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced his intention to appoint Carter Burwell to serve on the PIDB  for a three-year term beginning on February 15, 2022. Mr. Burwell currently serves as Counsel in the White Collar and Regulatory Defense practice at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. Before joining the firm in 2021, Mr. Burwell spent more than 15 years in various senior roles across the federal government. Most recently, Mr. Burwell served as Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, where he was responsible for helping to lead the Department’s national security mission. Prior to his time at the Treasury Department, Mr. Burwell served as one of the top lawyers on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, including as Chief Counsel to former Assistant Majority Leader and U.S. Senator John Cornyn and as Counsel to former Chairman and U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley. In the Senate, Mr. Burwell worked to reform and modernize national security and technology laws and conducted rigorous oversight of government officials. Mr. Burwell began his career in public service as a counter-terrorism prosecutor at the Department of Justice, where he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Violent Crime and Terrorism Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York and in the National Security and International Crimes Unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Earlier in his career, Mr. Burwell was a law clerk for the Honorable John Gleeson, U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of New York, and for the Honorable Karen Henderson on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Mr. Burwell is also an adjunct professor at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School and was a Wasserstein Fellow at Harvard Law School. Mr. Burwell received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, an M.Phil from the University of Cambridge, and a B.A. from Columbia University.

Ezra Cohen

On January 11, 2021, President Donald J. Trump appointed Ezra Cohen to a three-year term on the PIDB and designated him to serve as Chair for a two-year term that ended on January 10, 2023. Speaker Mike Johnson appointed Mr. Cohen to a second three-term from January 11, 2024, to January 10, 2027. Prior to his appointment to the PIDB, Mr. Cohen served in senior leadership positions at the Department of Defense (DoD) and Intelligence Community, most recently as the Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security and Director for Defense Intelligence, Office of the Director of National Intelligence from November 2020 to January 2021. In this role, he exercised authority, direction, and control over the Defense Intelligence Enterprise and Combat Support Agencies. Additionally, he served as the principal civilian intelligence advisor to the Secretary of Defense on all military intelligence-related matters, including signals intelligence, human intelligence, sensitive activities, geospatial intelligence, sensitive reconnaissance, counterintelligence, law enforcement, and security. His previous government positions include Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC); Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for SO/LIC; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counter-Narcotics and Global Threats; Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Intelligence Programs on the National Security Council; Deputy Defense Intelligence Officer for South Asia at the Defense Intelligence Agency; and as a DoD Operations Officer. Mr. Cohen began his government service as an intern researching 1820’s tariff legislation in the Center for Legislative Archives, a part of the National Archives and Record Administration. Mr. Cohen has also worked in the private sector for Oracle Corporation. Mr. Cohen received a B.A. in History from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.

Alissa M. Starzak​ (Vice Chair)

On January 11, 2023, Ms. Starzak became Acting Chair under the PIDB bylaws, pending the appointment of a Chair by the President of the United States. First appointed by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on February  27. 2018, to serve a three-year term, the PIDB members elected her as Vice Chair in 2018. She then served as Vice Chair and Acting Chair from June 5, 2020, to January 10, 2021, pending the appointment of a Chair by the President. Authorizing legislation extended her first three-year term ending on February 26, 2021, through February 15, 2022. On February 1, 2022, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced his intention to appoint Alissa M. Starzak to serve for a new three-year term, which began on February 15, 2022, and will end on February 14, 2025. Ms. Starzak is currently Vice President and Global 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 her 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 second term on the PIDB.

* Note: Though PIDB members typically serve for 3-year terms, Ms. DeBonis's official appointment from the White House Office of the Executive Clerk stipulated that the appointment is for the remainder of the term expiring on December 29, 2021, vice Adam Telle