Bush Admin. restricts liberties taken by panel reviewing…protection of civil liberties

The routine exposure of situations like this from the Washington Post should frighten us all.

The Bush administration made more than 200 revisions to the first report of a civilian board that oversees government protection of personal privacy, including the deletion of a passage on anti-terrorism programs that intelligence officials deemed “potentially problematic” intrusions on civil liberties, according to a draft of the report obtained by The Washington Post.

One of the panel’s five members, Democrat Lanny J. Davis, resigned in protest Monday over deletions ordered by White House lawyers and aides. The changes came after the congressionally created Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board had unanimously approved the final draft of its first report to lawmakers, renewing an internal debate over the board’s independence and investigative power.

And in the end:

The document obtained by The Post shows the length that White House officials went to make some changes.

One deleted passage divulged that the board had sent a letter in late January asking Bush to issue an executive order to all federal agencies to fully cooperate with the privacy board. It was prompted by board members’ concerns, including a lengthy delay in receiving a briefing on the National Security Agency‘s warrantless eavesdropping program and White House efforts to keep the media from attending a planned public board meeting scheduled just weeks before last November’s election.

Can you spell “control freaks”?

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