Bush's Bait and Switch with Civil Liberties
After the release of the 9/11 report, President Bush created a civil liberties commission. Good news? Not exactly. It appears Bush has pulled a bait and switch. Richard Ben-Venistem a member of the Commission and Lance Cole, a law professor and consultant to the 9/11 commission, write in the New York Times:
Since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the government has acquired powerful new legal tools, including those provided by the Patriot Act, to collect intelligence on Americans. Government agencies are using "data mining" and other techniques to identify potential terrorists and cut off sources of terrorist financing. As the commission's report noted, the shift of power and authority to government must be tempered by an enhanced system of checks and balances to protect the personal liberties that define our way of life.
One of the ways the commission sought to balance these competing objectives was to recommend the creation of a board within the executive branch to protect civil liberties and privacy rights. Unfortunately, the board created by the president has neither the right makeup nor the right powers to accomplish this objective.
Bush's board is fundamentally defective, beginning with its composition.
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