Here’s some background: A privacy and civil liberties oversight board was recommended by the 9/11 Commission, and the board was created in 2004 and placed within the White House. In 2008, Congress passed and President Bush signed the “Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007,” which took the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board out of the White House and established it “as an independent agency within the executive branch.”
Terms for the original board expired in January 2008, but President Bush delayed the nomination of new board members for many months; none were confirmed by the Senate. President Obama last year nominated James X. Dempsey, Vice President for Public Policy at the Center for Democracy and Technology, and Elisebeth Collins Cook, who worked in the Justice Department in the Bush administration.
“There are no excuses for not getting this board up and running,” said Sharon Bradford Franklin, senior counsel at the Constitution Project, one of more than a dozen groups that recently petitioned the administration to get the board operational.
Analysts say a host of national security issues — such as airport screening, cybersecurity policies and an upcoming Supreme Court case on whether law enforcement can attach a satellite tracking device without a warrant — would have benefited from independent oversight. […]
The White House has no explanation for why the board vacancies have proved so hard to fill, and declined an opportunity to comment for this article. […]
“Among our major disappointments has been the administration has not impaneled the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board,” former Rep. Lee Hamilton, vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission, testified to a Senate committee in March. […]
Meanwhile, a separate internal privacy and civil liberties board within the Justice Department has quietly fizzled. The board was launched in 2006, but Justice Department officials told The Times that the panel hasn’t met since the Bush administration and that the current Justice Department had decided not to renew it.