Wired has a nice piece on the state of Privacy in America – expect none under Bush.
President Bush has failed to nominate candidates for a congressionally empowered privacy board intended to police anti-terrorism programs.
Photo: AP / Monsivais
The Bush administration has failed to nominate any candidates to a newly empowered privacy and civil-liberties commission. This leaves the board without any members, even as Congress prepares to give the Bush administration extraordinary powers to wiretap without warrants inside the United States.
The failure rankles Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), respectively chairman and ranking minority member of the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee.
“I urge the president to move swiftly to nominate members to the new board to preserve the public’s faith in our promise to protect their privacy and civil liberties as we work to protect the country against terrorism,” Lieberman said in a statement.
“The White House’s failure to move forward with appointing the new board is unacceptable, and I call on the administration to do so as quickly as possible to prevent a gap in this vital mission,” Collins said in a statement.
In a 2007 measure implementing 9/11 Commission recommendations, Congress reconfigured the oversight committee, known as the Privacy and Civil Liberty Oversight Board. The intent was to make the board more independent of the White House, require it to be bipartisan and make it more accountable to the public.
Those changes came after civil-liberties groups blasted the board for a lack of independence and relevance.