Privacy and Civil Liberties Board still has not met


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.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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