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“Among our major disappointments has been the administration has not impaneled the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board,” former Rep. Lee Hamilton, vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission, testified to a Senate committee in March.

“I can’t figure it out,” Mr. Hamilton added. “I just cannot figure it out. I don’t know what President Bush and President Obama think. They just have not put an effective board in place and I can’t understand why.”

The White House declined to comment on the letter from civil liberties groups about the slow pace of naming panel members in response to an inquiry by The Washington Times last week.

Meanwhile, a separate internal privacy and civil liberties board within the Justice Department has quietly fizzled. The board was launched in 2006, but Justice Department officials told The Times that the panel hasn’t met since the Bush administration and that the current Justice Department had decided not to renew it.

The spokeswoman, Gina Talamona, said the board became inactive at the end of the Bush administration and officials decided not to start it up again under the Obama administration.

“The board hasn’t existed since the previous administration. It was created during the previous administration and it became inactive during the previous administration,” she said.

Ms. Talamona said the work that the board had conducted “during a brief period of time” is being conducted by existing offices and divisions within the Justice Department, including its chief privacy officer.

Another Justice Department spokeswoman, Xochitl Hinojosa, said despite the absence of an internal oversight board, the department had stepped up enforcement of civil rights laws.

Through the Freedom of Information Act, The Times sought all meeting minutes and agendas for the Justice Department’s privacy board over a period of years. But after taking more than a year to process the request, the department produced few documents, disclosing one agenda and several pages describing the board’s goals and structure.