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alp227 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-10 09:33 PM
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Lawmakers, advocates push administration for appointments to privacy board
Lawmakers and privacy advocates are stepping up the pressure on the Obama administration to fill the five vacant seats on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, a panel created in 2004 to ensure that executive branch counterterrorism policies protect Americans' civil liberties.

The board has been vacant since the end of the last administration, which is troubling, lawmakers say, given what intelligence officials say is the growing danger posed by homegrown terrorists.

"It's important, especially as we ramp up on domestic intelligence issues, that we have an independent watchdog" focused on privacy and civil liberties, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), of the House Homeland Security Committee, said at a conference on intelligence reform this week.

The White House is vetting someone for one of the three Democratic seats on the board, according to an administration official who said he could not be identified in discussing the vetting process. One of the barriers to finding a chairman is the statutory requirement that the official work full time, he said. "So that makes it a taller order," he said. The four other positions are part time.

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