When “oversight” means “overlook”
Posted by metaphorical on 9 December 2006
If you enjoyed the Orwellian absurdity of Newt Gingrich using an event dedicated to the freedom of speech to argue that we scale back our right to free speech in the “war” on terrorism, recently mentioned here, then you’ll be a big fan of a Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board that apparently sees its job as that of explaining to the public that no oversight is needed. This, despite the NSA’s unknown number of warrantless wiretaps an unknown number of American citizens. Wired News reports:
WASHINGTON — The first public meeting of a Bush administration “civil liberties protection panel” had a surreal quality to it, as the five-member board refused to answer any questions from the press, and stonewalled privacy advocates and academics on key questions about domestic spying.
The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which met Tuesday, was created by Congress in 2004 on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, but is part of the White House, which handpicked all the members. Though mandated by law in late 2004, the board was not sworn in until March 2006, due to inaction on the part of the White House and Congress.
The three-hour meeting, held at Georgetown University, quickly established that the panel would be something less than a fierce watchdog of civil liberties. Instead, members all but said they view their job as helping Americans learn to relax and love warrantless surveillance.