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Concerns raised about group reviewing NSA policies

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WASHINGTON — Working in secret like the programs they’re reviewing, five men with high-level security clearances and ties to President Obama will soon deliver a report that’s likely to reshape US government surveillance.

The group, which is scrutinizing the data harvesting by the National Security Agency, relies on the government’s spy office — the very people it’s supposed to be examining — for its staff and logistics. While that may be the safest way to handle sensitive materials, it also limits contrarian viewpoints, say people alarmed by the surveillance disclosures.

‘‘This is a panel of administration insiders and therefore lacks credibility as a panel of independent reviewers,’’ said Sascha Meinrath of the New America Foundation in Washington, who participated in a Sept. 9 meeting with the review group.

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