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)