View Full Version : Bush Spy Rules OK'd

03-06-2007, 09:53 AM
Bush spy rules OK'd
Privacy board ratifies safeguards


(Gold9472: So the White House investigates the White House, and finds nothing wrong. Imagine that.)

March 6, 2007

WASHINGTON -- A White House privacy board has determined that two of the Bush administration's controversial surveillance programs -- electronic eavesdropping and financial tracking -- do not violate citizens' civil liberties.

Democrats criticized the findings, which they said were questionable given some of the board members' close ties with the Bush administration.

After operating mostly in secret for a year, the five-member Privacy and Civil Liberties Board is to release its first report to Congress next week.

The report finds both the National Security Agency's warrantless eavesdropping program and the Treasury Department's monitoring of international banking transactions have sufficient privacy protections, three board members said in telephone interviews.

Both programs have multiple layers of review before sensitive information is accessed, they said.

"The program is structured and implemented in a way that is properly protective and attentive to civil liberties," said Carol Dinkins, a former Reagan administration assistant attorney general and board chair.

Some members were troubled by the Department of Homeland Security's no-fly lists, which critics say use subjective or inconclusive data to flag suspect travelers.

Lanny Davis, a former Clinton White House counsel and the panel's lone Democrat, said after several classified briefings, the board was reassured by the eavesdropping program's "multiple layers of checks and balances and accountability."

Conservative and liberal groups have questioned whether board members would stand up to the president if he were flouting the law.

The warrantless program monitors phone calls and e-mails between the United States and countries suspected to be linked to Al Qaeda agents. In August, a federal judge in Detroit ruled the program unconstitutional. Government attorneys have since asked an appeals court to dismiss the suit, arguing the case is moot because the surveillance is now monitored by a secret court.