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.
James E. Baker
Judge Baker, the Board’s acting Chair, became a Board member on June 22, 2016, by appointment of the President. In July 2015, he retired from the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces after fifteen years of service, the last four as Chief Judge. Judge Baker 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 Board.
Trevor W. Morrison (Chair)
Trevor W. Morrison, appointed by the President, served as the Board’s Chair from June 22, 2016 to June 21, 2018. In addition to continuing as a member of the Board, Mr. Morrison currently serves as the Dean and Eric M. and Laurie B. Roth Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. Prior to joining New York University, Mr. Morrison was Columbia University’s Liviu Librescu Professor of Law, the faculty co-director of Columbia’s Center for Constitutional Governance, and faculty co-chair of Columbia’s Hertog Program on Law and National Security. He joined Columbia University from the 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 served as 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 Board.
Alissa M. Starzak
Alissa M. Starzak was appointed to the Board by United States Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on February 27, 2018. 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
John F. Tierney was appointed by United States House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on July 20, 2017. 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.