Yes, she's strange and different...but not THAT different.

04 February 2008

It was just here ...

One of the many recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission was the formation of a privacy and civil-liberties commission to preserve the public's faith in the government protecting their privacy and civil liberties while fighting terrorism. Toward that end, President Bush formed the Privacy and Civil Liberty Oversight Board and then appointed Carol Dinkins (former campaign treasurer for President Bush and a partner at former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's law firm), Ted Olson (named solicitor general after winning the Bush v. Gore case that settled the 2000 election dispute and whose wife died in the 9/11 attacks), Alan Raul (Washington lawyer who happened to serve as Associate Counsel to President Reagan and represented the White House in connection with the Iran-Contra investigations), Francis Taylor (from July 2001 to November 2002, was responsible for the implementing US counterterrorism policy overseas), Mark Robbins (White House staff member and former member of the Bush-Cheney transition team) and Lanny Davis, the board's sole Democrat. Mr. Davis subsequently resigned in May 2007 to protest edits the White House made to the board's 2007 annual report to Congress and was not replaced. Given the makeup of the board, it isn't surprising that civil liberties advocates like Lisa Graves, deputy director of the Center for National Security Studies, considered the board to be apologists for the government's anti-terrorism policies, rather than independent civil-liberties watchdogs.

Now the Davis "not being replaced" theme seems to have become the only theme. The terms of the initial members of the board expired on January 30 of this year. So far the Bush administration has not sent any nominations for board replacements to the Senate Homeland Security Committee, which must approve appointees for the five vacancies. There has been no response to inquiries by the press concerning appointees from either the White House or the board's offices. And just like that - POOF! - President Bush has made the Privacy and Civil Liberty Oversight Board disappear.

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