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Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Civil Liberties Oversight Board
A small federal panel that oversees privacy issues has been catapulted from a bureaucratic backwater into the political maelstrom roiled by leaks about the National Security Agency's domestic snooping.
Top lawyers for U.S. intelligence agencies fought a rear-guard action Monday against plans to rein in the National Security Agency's domestic snooping, telling a blue-ribbon panel that restricting it would hamper the government's "agility" in pre-empting terrorist plots.
The White House over the past several days has launched a public relations offensive to convince Americans that, under President Obama's leadership, privacy and Fourth Amendment rights won't be sacrificed in the name of national security.
With concerns over federal surveillance near the boiling point, President Obama on Friday will hold his first meeting with the newly constituted Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, a senior administration official said.
A presidentially appointed panel charged with ensuring federal laws don't impede Americans' civil liberties has nothing to show for itself in recent years, failing to meet even once during a five-year span because vacancies had left the board dormant for so long.
President Obama has named two lawyers and a former federal judge to an independent privacy board recommended by the 9/11 Commission that has sat dormant for years under he and President George W. Bush.
An independent oversight board recommended by the 9/11 Commission to ensure that national security policies do not infringe on Americans' civil liberties has remained dormant for years, raising concerns among watchdogs that a crucial Constitution safeguard does not exist.
President Obama has failed to make any appointments to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. This board epitomizes the charades Washington has played since Sept, 11, 2001. Instead of stocking the board with the usual suspects, it would be far better to abolish it.