Obama has yet to fill empty seats at civil liberties watchdog committee

It's been a year and Obama has yet to fill the empty seats on the government's main civil liberties oversight committee:
The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board was recommended initially by the bipartisan September 11 commission as an institutional voice for privacy inside the intelligence community. Its charter was to recommend ways to mitigate the effects of far-reaching surveillance technology that the federal government uses to track terrorists...

On Friday, two leading Democrats -- Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. Jane Harman of California, chairman of that panel's subcommittee on intelligence, information sharing and terrorism risk assessment -- sent a letter to Mr. Obama demanding action.

"We write to urge you to appoint individuals to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board immediately. Your FY2010 budget appropriates funds for this board, but it remains unfulfilled," the lawmakers wrote.

The two Democrats noted that previous letters to Mr. Obama, including one from Mrs. Harman and Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, "remain unanswered."

The lawmakers said the need for the oversight panel is particularly urgent in light of proposed changes to terrorist-screening rules at airports after the attempted Christmas Day attack on a Northwest jet bound for Detroit.

Liberties oversight panel gets short shrift (Thanks, Marilyn!)

(Image: Cerberus: entry for Bruce Schneier's TSA logo competition, a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike image from bazzr's photostream)


  1. Though articulate speechmaking is preferable to the lack thereof, the POTUS does occasionally need to *do* stuff, or delegate to other competent people at least.

  2. Everytime I hear that “old boss” catch-phrase, I get a little more weary of reading comments threads on any article.

  3. It seems odd to me that Harman is in a rush to get a civil liberties watchdog in place given her track record on domestic wire tapping.


    Wasn’t she also the one who was in the awkward news last year as coming out in favor of stricter wiretapping laws when wiretapping caught her having some inappropriate conversation with an Israeli?

  4. Do people still believe that one single person can rule a country so big as the USA? Would you connect all nation’s electricity grid to a single small switch operated by a single individual?

    Obama is a puppet controlled by the Congress like all other US presidents were in the past.
    Being a much more likable person compared to GWB won’t change anything if he’s getting the same orders by the same people. If the ruling class didn’t like him he would have never been elected, or alternatively he’d be dead now.

  5. I would be really curious to know what the hold up is. I didn’t for for Obama, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of doubt.

  6. Just stop flying and start demanding changes. Boycott *all* airlines and find alternative transportation unless flying is an absolute necessity, even if it means sacrificing some convenience. And let every piece of related bad news give you renewed desire to continue boycotting. You’ll find it in you to do this if you feel strongly enough about the growing human rights issue of TSA abuses. After all, the sound of wallets snapping shut in their faces is the only thing people seem to pay attention to these days.

    1. These things always seem to take less time, though, when the administration prioritizes them. I’m willing to wait, but it would be nice to see some indication that civil liberties is actually high up on the queue.

  7. Mr. Schneier’s logo has some odd and disturbing connotations, is he trying to say the TSA wants to take your hooch, lick your balls then kiss your feet?

  8. In Obama’s defense, anyone he appoints will instantly be labeled a communist or a pedophile by the Becktards and driven out of office.

  9. These empty seats are obviously something that was inherited from the previous administration. So it’s clearly Bush’s fault.

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