With 150 Days Left in Term, President Obama Has Not Nominated a Civil Liberties Chair
It’s the summer story nobody’s talking about: with 150 days left in his presidency, Barack Obama has failed to nominate a Chair for the the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.
Why is this such big news?
In an era of warrantless surveillance, suspicious activity reports, free speech zones, drones, renegade NSA code, classified this and classified that, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) is the only body in the executive branch of the United States government with independent power to investigate and report on violations of privacy and constitutional liberties in the U.S. government’s “War on Terror.” But the PCLOB has been without a Chair since July 1 of this year, and without a chair, obstructionists are able block any action of this potentially freedom-protecting group. We know that two members of the PCLOB have a demonstrated hostility to civil liberties, so the protection of a PCLOB Chair matters.
With 150 days left in his presidential term, President Obama has failed to nominate a replacement chair. Without a chair, the PCLOB has been stymied. It hasn’t even scheduled a meeting.
He’s good at the “thoughtful” pose in photos. He has a portentious speaking voice. But don’t focus on looks. Don’t focus on talk. Focus on action. As President, Barack Obama has eviscerated the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.