What do the White House Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board and the Vice President's Terrorism Task Force have in common?
Neither believes in holding meetings. Ever.
Though the media never talked or wrote about it much, Dick Cheney's Terrorism Task Force, formed in May of 2001, never held a meeting. Such is also the case with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, formed at the recommendation of the over-praised September 11 Commission in December of 2004. There has been conflict over the board's budget, its powers, and its membership. On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved two of Bush's nominees to the board, but it is estimated that it could take months before the board is actually ready to work.
Carol E. Dinkins, an attorney and former member of the Reagan Justice Department, is chairwoman of the board. She was the treasurer of George W. Bush's 1994 campaign for governor of Texas, and co-chair of Lawyers for Bush-Cheney, an organization which recruited attorneys to handle legal conflicts after the 2004 election. She is also a member of the law firm where Attorney General Alberto Gonzales once worked.
Only one board member, vice chairman Alan Charles Raul, appears to have any experience in the field of civil liberties.