In 2007, Congress created an independent commission in the executive branch to ensure that the post-9/11 counterterrorism landscape contained guardrails for fundamental privacy and civil-liberties interests. Though it took five years for the Senate to confirm its first members, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) played an integral role in reviewing the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records and clarifying the government’s foreign intelligence surveillance powers. But the five-member Board currently lacks a quorum, limiting its ability to hold meetings, analyze counterterrorism policies, make reports to Congress, and hold the executive branch to account.
The Brennan Center urges President Biden to nominate individuals with proven records in privacy and civil-liberties advocacy to these vacancies, which will both restore PCLOB to its full stature and further a mission that remains as urgent in 2021 as it was in 2007.
Coalition Letter Urges Biden Administration to Fill Vacancies on the PCLOB by The Brennan Center for Justice on Scribd