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No Oversight

Remember when I pointed out that the real story of those civil liberties violations that Gonzales didn’t admit to was the role of the Intelligence Oversight Board? Well, I was right:

An independent oversight board created to identify intelligence abuses after the CIAscandals of the 1970s did not send any reports to the attorney generalof legal violations during the first 5 1/2 years of the Bushadministration’s counterterrorism effort, the Justice Department has told Congress.

Although the FBItold the board of a few hundred legal or rules violations by its ownagents after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the board did not identifywhich of them were indeed legal violations. This spring, it forwardedreports of violations in 2006, officials said.

The President’s Intelligence Oversight Board — the principal civilianwatchdog of the intelligence community — is obligated under a26-year-old executive order to tell the attorney general and thepresident about any intelligence activities it believes "may beunlawful." The board was vacant for the first two years of the Bushadministration. [my emphasis]

Basically, this article reveals that Bush didn’t have an Intelligence Oversight Board for the first two years of his Administration. Afterwards, it simply didn’t report violations to the Attorney General, though the FBI admits there were violations. And I presume, since the article makes clear (as I suggested) that Bush’s IOB a part of his PFIAB, then IOB stopped meeting classification guidelines in the year that IOB started doing it’s job, kind of. Which is another way of saying that, either Bush didn’t have a functional IOB, or if he did, he permitted it to play the same classification games he permitted Dick Cheney.

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Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.