US President Barack Obama [official profile] nominated three individuals [press release] to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) Thursday, which had been vacant since 2007. He named David Medine [Findlaw profile] as his nominee for Chairman as well as Rachel Brand [NCLC profile] and Judge Patricia Wald [Inns of Court profile] as members of the board. The board serves to assist the president [WH backgrounder] in ensuring that privacy and civil liberties are adequately considered while implementing anti-terrorism policies. The board is also charged with:
"Advising on whether adequate guidelines, supervision, and oversight exist to protect these important legal rights of all Americans. In addition, the Board is specifically charged with responsibility for reviewing the terrorism information sharing practices of executive branch departments and agencies to determine whether guidelines designed to appropriately protect privacy and civil liberties are being followed."The nominations have been sent to the Senate for confirmation hearings.
Legal experts, right groups, and Democrats criticized [CAP op-ed] the board while it was operating under George W. Bush [WH profile] for being too close to the administration when it approved [JURIST report] a controversial surveillance bill in 2007. The board was originally recommended [text, PDF] by the 9/11 Commission [text, PDF]. It was then established by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 [text, PDF]. It began functioning in March 2006 after not meeting [JURIST reports] for more than a year since it was established in December 2004.