Lawmakers say 9/11 Civil Liberties panel has no power

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RAW STORY
Published: Thursday November 30, 2006

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Lawmakers from both parties are complaining about the powerlessness of the country's Civil Liberties Board, which was created in the wake of 9/11 upon the recommendation of the September 11 Commission, Congressional Quarterly is reporting.

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has been receiving information months after it has appeared in mainstream media outlets, including the New York Times.

Democrats and Republicans have complained about the Bush administration's management of the Board and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) has introduced a bill to compel Bush to implement the 9/11 Commissions recommendations. The bill has received bipartisan support.

Excerpts from the Congressional Quarterly restricted access article follow:

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A board set up to protect against civil liberties violations resulting from government anti-terrorism programs does not have enough power to do its job, Democratic and Republican lawmakers charged Wednesday.

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, a White House panel created after a recommendation by the independent Sept. 11 Commission, first received information about the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program last week and its bank monitoring program this week. The panel received the information 11 months after The New York Times disclosed the existence of the domestic spy program and five months after the newspaper revealed the bank monitoring program.

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“What we have now is a board that only gets late briefings on issues we read about in the press months ago — and that’s only if the White House decides to throw it a bone,” said [Rep. Carolyn] Maloney [D-NY], who sponsored a bill (HR 1310) to enact Sept. 11 Commission recommendations that have not been implemented.

Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., a co-sponsor of Maloney’s bill, concurred with Maloney in a statement.