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Obama relying on untested oversight board on NSA

National Security Agency
Posted at 8:20 AM, Jun 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-19 08:20:00-04

WASHINGTON (AP) — The obscure oversight board that President Barack Obama wants to scrutinize the National Security Agency's secret surveillance system is little known for good reason. The U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has operated fitfully during its eight years of low-profile existence, stymied by congressional infighting and, at times, censorship by government lawyers.

The privacy board planned to meet privately Wednesday, its first meeting since revelations that the NSA has been secretly collecting the phone records of millions of Americans.

Obama's sudden leaning on the board as a civil libertarian counterweight to the government's elaborate secret surveillance program places trust in an organization that is untested and whose authority at times still defers to Congress and government censors.