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.
William H. Leary
William H. Leary was reappointed by the President on January 14, 2015. He was the Special Adviser to the National Security Advisor and Senior Director for Records and Access Management on the National Security Staff until his retirement in 2011. In that capacity, he served as Chair of the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel and Chair of the Records Access and Information Security Interagency Policy Committee. A strong proponent of governmental transparency, Mr. Leary was one of the primary executive branch officials behind the creation of the Board in 2000 and the development of President Obama’s Executive Order 13526 on Classified National Security Information. Prior to joining the National Security Council staff, he served as the Deputy Director of the Agency Services Division at the National Archives and Records Administration for five years. From 1968 until 1973, Mr. Leary taught American history at the University of Virginia, the College of William and Mary, and the University of South Alabama. He received his B.A. in foreign affairs and M.A. and A.B.D. in history, all from the University of Virginia. He is serving his second term on the Board.
Nancy E. Soderberg
Nancy E. Soderberg was reappointed by the President as Chair on November 16, 2012. She is a national security expert with vast experience at the White House, United Nations, and Congress. While at the National Security Council, she worked extensively on declassification issues. She is currently the President and CEO of Soderberg Global Solutions and a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of North Florida. From 2009-2013, she was the President of the Connect U.S. Fund, a non-profit organization that focuses on promoting U.S. global engagement. Ambassador Soderberg served as Vice President of the International Crisis Group from 2001 until 2005. She was the U.S. Representative for Special Political Affairs at the United Nations from 1997 to 2001, with the rank of Ambassador, and Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Staff Director of the National Security Council from 1993 until 1997. From 1985 to 1992, she served as a Foreign Policy Advisor to Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Ambassador Soderberg has written The Superpower Myth: The Use and Misuse of American Might and co-authored, with Brian Katulis, The Prosperity Agenda: What the World Wants from America – and What We Need in Return. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She earned a B.A. from Vanderbilt University and an M.S. from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Ambassador Soderberg is serving her second term on the Board.
David E. Skaggs (Acting Chair)
David E. Skaggs was appointed by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader of the House, on March 29, 2012. He is the Chairman of the Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics and practices law with the firm McKenna, Long, and Aldridge. He previously served as Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education from 2007 to 2009. He served 12 years in Congress from 1987 to1999 as the Representative from the 2nd Congressional District in Colorado, including 8 years on the House Appropriations Committee and 6 years on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. After leaving Congress, he served as Executive Director of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at the Council for Excellence in Government from 1999 to 2006, and taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado, where he recently resumed teaching as an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado Law School. He has a B.A. in philosophy from Wesleyan University and an LL.B from Yale Law School. Mr. Skaggs is serving his third term on the Board.
Admiral William O. Studeman, USN (Ret.)
William O. Studeman was appointed by Rep. John Boehner, Speaker of the House, on May 18, 2012. He recently retired from Northrop Grumman Corporation as Vice President and Deputy General Manager of Mission Systems. Admiral Studeman’s flag tours included OPNAV Director of Long Range Navy Planning; Director of Naval Intelligence; Director of the National Security Agency; and Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, with two extended periods as Acting Director. He served as a member of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction and is currently serving on the National Advisory Board on Bio-Security and the Defense Science Board. He holds a B.A. in history from the University of the South in Sewanee, TN, and an M.A. in public and international affairs from George Washington University. Admiral Studeman is serving his third term on the Board.
Sanford J. Ungar
Sanford J. Ungar was reappointed to the Board by Sen. Harry Reid as Majority Leader of the Senate on March 6, 2014. He recently stepped down as the tenth President of Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland and is now serving as a distinguished scholar in residence at the Georgetown University. Prior to assuming his position at Goucher, Mr. Ungar served as Director of the Voice of America, Dean of the School of Communication at American University in Washington, D.C., Washington editor of The Atlantic, managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine, and a staff writer for The Washington Post. He is a former host of “All Things Considered” on National Public Radio and has published six books, including The Papers & The Papers: An Account of the Legal and Political Battle over the Pentagon Papers. Mr. Ungar obtained his B.A. in Government from Harvard College and a Master’s degree in International History from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Mr. Ungar is serving his third term on the Board.
Kenneth L. Wainstein
Kenneth L. Wainstein was appointed to the Board by Sen. Mitch McConnell as Minority Leader of the Senate on September 17, 2013. He currently is Chair of 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 is also an adjunct professor of law at the Georgetown University Center of Law. 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 first term on the Board.