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.
On June 22, 2016, President Obama appointed Judge James E. Baker and Trevor W. Morrison to the Board. Mr. Morrison served as the Chairman from June 22, 2016, to June 21, 2018. Judge Baker has served as Acting Chairman since June 22, 2018. The current authorizing legislation extends both their terms to June 10, 2020. 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 11, 2017, the House Minority Leader appointed John F. Tierney to serve a term on the Board, which the current authorizing legislation extends to June 29, 2021. Appointed on February 27, 2018, by the Senate Minority Leader, Alissa M. Starzak will serve on the Board to February 15, 2022, under the current authorizing legislation.
Success in meeting the responsibilities of the PIDB comes from the continued support of its distinguished members. The PIDB has benefitted from service by emeritus members Laura A. DeBonis, William H. Leary, Solomon B. Watson IV, and Admiral William O. Studeman. Previous members also serve as advisers to the PIDB, including Herbert O. Brick, Martin Faga, Elizabeth Rindskopf-Parker, Jennifer Sims, Congressman David E. Skaggs, Nancy E. Soderberg, and Sanford J. Ungar.
Current Members Biographies
James E. Baker was appointed by President Obama on June 22, 2016, and has served as Acting Chairman since June 22, 2018. The current authorizing legislation extends his term to June 10, 2020. Judge Baker retired from the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces in July 2015 after fifteen years of service, the last four as Chief Judge. Judge Baker is currently a Professor at the Syracuse University College of Law and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, where he also serves as Director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism. He previously served as the Robert J. Wilhelm Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2017-2018) and Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security (2015-2018). Judge Baker also currently serves as the Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security. He previously served as Special Assistant to the President and Legal Adviser to the National Security Council (NSC) (1997-2000), Deputy Legal Adviser to the National Security Council (1994-1997) and as Counsel to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and Intelligence Oversight Board. Judge Baker has also served as an attorney adviser in the Office of the Legal Advisor, Department of State; a legislative aide and acting Chief of Staff to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1985-1987); and as a Marine Corps infantry officer (1979-2000), resigning his Reserve commission upon joining the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. He is the author of In the Common Defense: National Security Law for Perilous Times (Cambridge: 2007) and, with Michael Riesman, Regulating Covert Action (Yale University Press: 1992). He received a B.A from Yale University and a J.D. from Yale Law School. He is serving his first term on the PIDB.
Trevor W. Morrison was appointed by President Obama on June 22, 2016, and served as Chairman from his appointment date until June 21, 2018. The current authorizing legislation extends his term to June 10, 2020. Mr. Morrison is currently the Dean and Eric M. and Laurie B. Roth Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. He was previously the Liviu Librescu Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, where he was also faculty co-director of the Center for Constitutional Governance and faculty co-chair of the Hertog Program on Law and National Security. Before that, he was on the faculty of Cornell Law School. Mr. Morrison spent 2009 in the White House, where he served as associate counsel to President Barack Obama. Before entering academia, he was a law clerk to Judge Betty B. Fletcher of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1998-99) and to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court (2002-03). Between those clerkships, he was a Bristow Fellow in the U.S. Justice Department's Office of the Solicitor General (1999-2000), an attorney-advisor in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (2000-01), and an associate at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (now WilmerHale) (2001-02). Mr. Morrison is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Law Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the U.S. State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Law. He received a B.A. (hons.) in history from the University of British Columbia in 1994, and a J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1998. He was also a Richard Hofstadter Fellow in History at Columbia University. Mr. Morrison is serving his first term on the PIDB.
Alissa M. Starzak was appointed by Senator Charles E. Schumer as Minority Leader on February 27, 2018. The current authorizing legislation extends her term to February 15, 2022. She joins the PIDB from her current position at Cloudflare, a company providing web-security and optimization services, where she is responsible for public policy. 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.
John F. Tierney was appointed by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on July 11, 2017 to his first term, which the current authorizing legislation extends to June 29, 2021. 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 is a partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP. He is an adjunct professor of law at the Georgetown University Center of Law. He previously was a partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, where he specialized in white collar and criminal defense and corporate investigations. 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.