US intelligence watchdog silent for over five years under Bush/Cheney
Published: Sunday July 15, 2007
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The Washington Post reports that the President's Intelligence Oversight Board, put in place to monitor intelligence abuses, was silent for 5 1/2 years under the Bush Administration, according to the Justice Department. For the first two years of the Bush/Cheney reign, the board was vacant.

"It's now apparent that the IOB was not actively employed in the early part of the administration," says Anthony Harrington, the board's chairman during the Clinton administration. "And it was a crucial period when its counsel would seem to have been needed the most."



The President's Intelligence Oversight Board -- the principal civilian watchdog of the intelligence community -- is obligated under a 26-year-old executive order to tell the attorney general and the president about any intelligence activities it believes "may be unlawful." The board was vacant for the first two years of the Bush administration.

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) added: "It is deeply disturbing that this administration seems to spend so much of its energy and resources trying to find ways to ignore any check and balance on its authority and avoid accountability to Congress and the American public."

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Friday that "the president expects every single person working in counterterrorism and intelligence strictly to follow the law -- and if there are instances where that has not occurred, either intentionally or non-intentionally, he expects it promptly to be corrected." She said the White House relies on the presidentially appointed director of national intelligence to monitor problems.