This is a sampling from Bay Area News Group's Political Blotter blog. Read more and post comments at www.ibabuzz.com/politics.

May 7

CNET is reporting that prominent Silicon Valley attorney Nicole Wong, 44, of Berkeley, will join the Obama administration as the White House's first chief privacy officer.

Since November, Wong has been San Francisco-based Twitter's legal director; earlier, she was deputy general counsel for almost eight years at Mountain View-based Google, where she was responsible for the company's product and regulatory matters. As The New York Times noted in 2008, her colleagues there called her "the Decider" for her role in dealing with international online censorship.

Earlier still, Wong was a partner at Perkins Coie LLP; coedited the Electronic Media and Privacy Law Handbook; and taught media and Internet law courses as an adjunct professor at UC Berkeley, Stanford University and the University of San Francisco. She earned a bachelor's degree in American Studies from Georgetown University and a law degree and a master's degree in journalism from UC Berkeley.

May 9

Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, including the caucus's Peace and Security Task Force chairwoman, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, held a hearing Wednesday on U.S. drone policy.


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At issue were lethal drones operations abroad, questions of due process, implications for executive and congressional war-making authority, and the precedent being set as other nations rapidly adopt drone technology.

"I'm proud to stand with my colleagues in the Progressive Caucus on this issue, and am especially grateful for their efforts in calling this hearing," Lee said in a news release. "We need to ensure that both chambers publicly debate the implications of drones and drone warfare. We cannot retreat from our Congressional duties of oversight and accountability, especially on issues like this where the stakes are so high."

Caucus members heard testimony from former House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ron Dellums, D-Oakland; Zeke Johnson, director of Amnesty International USA's Security with Human Rights Campaign; international human rights lawyer and New York University Professor Sarah Knuckey; Chris Rogers, program officer of the Regional Policy Initiative at the Open Society Foundation; counterterrorism and human rights lawyer and Columbia University Lecturer in Law Naureen Shah; and journalist Adam Baron.

The hearing also included video testimony from Baraa Shiban, a youth representative in Yemen's National Dialogue and Reprieve Project.

Caucus co-chairs Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., and Keith Ellison, D-Minn., recently wrote a letter to President Barack Obama asking the administration to explain the legal basis for drone strikes. "It is far past time that the White House openly discuss the drones program," the letter said. "The President has full reign to protect the United States as Commander in Chief, but Congress has a vital oversight role in this issue, and we cannot shy away from those responsibilities."