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Head of US’ Top Privacy Watchdog Group Resigns

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The chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent, bipartisan agency within the executive branch that determines the risks of counterterrorism programs to Americans’ constitutional rights, has suddenly resigned.

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David Medine became chairman of the agency in 2013, shortly before whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the extent of the National Security Agency’s spying and brought privacy concerns into the spotlight.

Medine was set to remain chairman of the five-member panel until January 2018, but will leave the position as of July 1, 2016. All members are chosen by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

“I have had the great privilege of being PCLOB’s first chairman. During my tenure and thanks to the support of the president and Congress, the Board has been able to carry out its timely mission of conducting oversight and providing advice to ensure that federal counterterrorism efforts properly balance national security with privacy and civil liberties,” Medine wrote in his resignation statement on the PCLOB website.

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Medine is reportedly leaving to continue his work, focusing on developing countries and protecting low-income consumers. 

“David has served our Nation as PCLOB Chairman during an especially momentous period, coinciding with a concerted examination of our national security tools and policies to ensure they are consistent with my Administration’s commitment to civil liberties and individual privacy,” Obama wrote in an email statement regarding Medine’s resignation.

Medine stated that he will be continue to work on PCLOB’s current projects until his departure, and that the remaining board members will remain committed to their work, “including its ongoing examination of counterterrorism activities under Executive Order 12333.”

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