First, Ed is superbly qualified for the job. He not only has deep knowledge of technology, he understands policy and how Washington works. Second, there really are important technical issues in PCLOB’s work—that’s why I spent a year there as their first Technology Scholar.
But more importantly, Ed’s appointment is a sign that computer science technical expertise is finally being valued in Washington at the policy level. My role was very explicitly not to set or opine on policy; rather, I looked at the technical aspects and explained to the staff and the Board what I thought they implied. The Board, though, made the policy decisions.
Ed will now have a voice at that level. That’s good, partly because he is, as I said, so very well qualified, but also because he will likely be the first of many technologists in such roles. For years, I and many others have been calling for such appointments. I’m glad that one has finally happened.