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Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board


Recommended by the July 22, 2004, report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission), the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board was established by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. It consists of five members appointed by and serving at the pleasure of the President. The Chairman and Vice Chairman are confirmed by the Senate. Board members are selected from among trustworthy and distinguished citizens outside the Federal Government who are qualified on the basis of achievement, experience, and independence. The Board is part of the White House Office within the Executive Office of the President and supported by an Executive Director and staff.

Board members include Carol E. Dinkins, of Texas, Chairwoman; Alan Charles Raul, of the District of Columbia, Vice Chairman; Theodore B. Olson, of Virginia; and Francis X. Taylor, of Maryland.

The Chairwoman and Vice Chairman were confirmed by the Senate on February 17, 2006. All Board members were sworn in and had their first meeting on March 14, 2006.

The Role of the Board and its Operations

The Board advises the President and other senior executive branch officials to ensure that concerns with respect to privacy and civil liberties are appropriately considered in the implementation of all laws, regulations, and executive branch policies related to efforts to protect the Nation against terrorism. This includes 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, including those issued by the President on December 16, 2005: Message to the Congress of the United States on Information Sharing; and Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies.

In the course of performing these functions within the executive branch, the Board seeks the views of private sector, non-profit and academic institutions, Members of Congress, and all other interested parties and individuals on these issues.

Board Product

Free of day-to-day management or operational responsibilities in this area, the Board is able to review and analyze information and policies and render advice that reflects an objective view as to whether privacy rights and civil liberties are being appropriately considered in efforts to protect the Nation against terrorism. It provides its advice and makes its recommendations to the President and executive branch department and agency heads, as appropriate, and has access to all relevant information necessary to fulfill its vital advisory role. Additionally, the Board makes an annual report to Congress.

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