About the Board

The Public Interest Declassification Board is an advisory board established by Congress to promote the fullest possible public access to a thorough, accurate, and reliable documentary record of significant U.S. national security decisions and activities. The Board’s mandate includes advising the President and other government officials on policies deriving from the issuance by the President of Executive orders regarding the classification and declassification of national security information.

Alissa M. Starzak (Acting Chair and Vice Chair)

Alissa M. Starzak was appointed by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on February 27, 2018. She has served as Acting Chair and Vice Chair since June 5, 2020. The current authorizing legislation extends her term to February 15, 2022. She joins the Board 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 United States government in a variety of national security positions. Most recently, with confirmation by the Senate, she served as the 21st General Counsel of the United States Department of the Army. As General Counsel of the Army, she served as 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 United States 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 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, United States 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 Board.

John F. Tierney

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 presently serves as 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. During nine-terms as a representative in the United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts, Mr. Tierney 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 in the House 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 entering 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 a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School.  Judge Baker is serving his first term on the Board.

Kenneth L. Wainstein

Kenneth L. Wainstein was reappointed by United States Senate Majority Leader  Mitch McConnell on September 20, 2016. He currently chairs the White Collar Defense and Investigations Group at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, where he specializes in white collar and criminal defense and corporate investigations. He also teaches an adjunct professor of law at the Georgetown University Center of Law. Previously, Mr. Wainstein served as an Assistant United States 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, President George W. Bush named Mr. Wainstein as Homeland Security Advisor. 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.