OK

Remember, House Republicans have nothing to say or do about this confirmation. It is the sole responsibility of the U.S. Senate to confirm all the president's nominations. John Boehner and House Republicans cannot sabotage this process. That said, this has been a long-time coming.

Ironically, it was George W. Bush who [at the recommendation of the 911 commission] reluctantly created the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board back in 2004. It was plagued from the start. One appointee (Lanny Davis) resigned, claiming the Bush administration overtly controlled the board. But I'm pretty sure the board was probably meant as a cruel joke Dick Cheney concocted in order to spite Senator Pat Leahy (D-Vermont) the chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Around the same time the board was created, Cheney visited the Senate and got into an argument with the chairman, telling Senator Leahy to "Go F*** Yourself" on the Senate floor. Leahy had been excoriating the former vice president over Halliburton's war profiteering and the administration's judicial picks. Obviously, Cheney had no answers to the charges.

Here's Bush's pretentious and dysfunctional history with the PCLOB:

And here's the long, contentious chronology of President Obama's nomination process for the board.

But that was then... and this is now.

I still don't know how Harry Reid maneuvered this; whether he worked a back room deal with McConnell or what. But it's done. And it's a positive development. The board won't wield as much power as it should, given both the scant five-person panel, and the current eroded condition of privacy and civil liberties in this country. But it will have subpoena power so government officials will have to take some notice.

Here's the good news via Secrecy News @ The FAS Project on Government Secrecy:

Almost a year and a half after he was nominated by President Obama in December 2011, the Senate yesterday confirmed David Medine to be the chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board by a vote of 53-45.

Republicans, led by Sen. Charles Grassley, opposed the nominee and voted against him.

“I was disappointed that he failed to answer a basic yes-or-no question about national security law: ‘Do you believe that we are engaged in a war on terrorism?’,” Sen. Grassley said. “Instead of a simple yes or no, he opted for a more limited answer that military power is permissible in appropriate cases.”

I don't think anyone endowed with a reasonable mind can deny that Republicans have become synonymous with perpetual war these days. I swear, if given half a chance, they would dismantle the federal government until the only piece left was the military. Corporations would run all other governmental functions. But I digress.  

As you would expect, Senator Leahy had other thoughts on the board.

Democrats, led by Sen. Patrick Leahy, praised Mr. Medine and the Board that he will now lead.

“The confirmation of this nominee is a significant victory for all Americans who care about safeguarding our privacy rights and civil liberties,” Sen. Leahy said. “The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is a guardian of Americans’ privacy rights and civil liberties as well as an essential part of our national security strategy,” he said.

This iwill be slow-going. The board will only be able to tackle a few issues per year, and there will be push-back from both Congress and the White House. Together, the national security lobby/neocons in both parties are still stubbornly hanging on in Washington -- and they have plenty of wealth.
For background on the origins and development of the Board, see Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board: New Independent Agency Status, Congressional Research Service, August 27, 2012 (PDF).
More on David Medine:
Honors and Awards

• Recognized as a Nationwide leader in the Privacy and Data Security field in the 2010 and 2011 editions of Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers.

• Listed as a "Leading Lawyer" in the area of Media, technology and telecoms: Technology-data protection and privacy in the 2009 edition of The Legal 500 United States

• Selected for inclusion in the 2008 and 2009 editions of Washington, DC Super Lawyers in the area of banking law.

• Recognized as a leader in privacy and data security in the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 editions of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business

• Selected by peers for inclusion in the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 editions of The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of banking law and financial services regulation law

• Listed in BtoB Magazine's "100 Who's Who in Business to Business"

• Named by Credit Today Magazine as one of the 50 most influential people in credit

• Selected by Washingtonian magazine as one of the "Top Lawyers" in Washington, 2004

We the People need to support this every way we can.

Originally posted to markthshark on Fri May 10, 2013 at 05:17 AM PDT.

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