The Hill has the background on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), a group that was created 8 years ago and just last month sawit's 5th and final member confirmed.
Does this sound like a sham to you?
The panel was first suggested in the 2004 report by the 9/11 Commission, and was first launched that year. In 2007, the group was granted independent powers, but both Presidents George W. Bush and Obama resisted nominating members for years.
The panel operated without offices or staff for years, and the fifth and final member -- Chairman David Medine -- was only confirmed last month, by a narrow 53-45 party line vote.
The board still lacks a website, and until Medine's appointment, had only two federal staffers pulled from other government agencies. It had held only two meetings before a briefing earlier this week, the first since the top-secret NSA programs were revealed by 29-year old defense contractor Edward Snowden.
Still, the White House believes that meeting with the panel can help assuage privacy concerns voiced since the revelation of the NSA programs. The senior administration official said the board's functions included "ensuring that the need for such actions is balanced with the need to protect privacy and civil liberties."
In an interview with the Associated Press, Medine said senior officials at the NSA, FBI, and Justice Department explained how some of the NSA programs functioned in a meeting with the five panelists Wednesday.
"Based on what we've learned so far, further questions are warranted," he told the wire service.
Medine also said the group plans a public meeting on July 9, and will publish a report that includes analysis of and recommendations for the NSA programs. By law, the board is required to report to Congress not less than semiannually.
This is a crock. Obama knows why this board was created - to give cover to the administration - and will use it to "assuage" the fears about privacy from American citizens.
Just one more dishonest attempt to excuse the massive violations of privacy represented by the surveillance programs.