U.S. News

White House Civil Liberties Board Created By 9/11 Commission Meeting For First Time Next Week...

For more than a year, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has been the most invisible office in the White House. Created by Congress in December 2004 as a result of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, the board has never hired a staff or even held a meeting. Next week, NEWSWEEK has learned, that is due to finally change when the board's five members are slated to be sworn in at the White House and convene their first session. Board members tell NEWSWEEK the panel intends to immediately tackle contentious issues like the president's domestic wiretapping program, the Patriot Act and Pentagon data mining. But critics are furious the process has taken this long--and question whether the White House intends to treat the panel as anything more than window dressing. The delay is "outrageous, considering how long its been since the bill [creating the board] was passed," said Thomas Kean, who chaired the 9/11 Commission. "The administration was never interested in this."