Privacy Potemkin Village; A Toothless Civil-Liberties Watchdog

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), January 15, 2007 | Go to article overview

Privacy Potemkin Village; A Toothless Civil-Liberties Watchdog


Byline: Nat Hentoff, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

I was impressed when the September 11 commission included in its list of recommendations to the Bush administration an actual watchdog operation to keep checking on what's been happening to our civil liberties since September 11. But then I found out the resultant Privacy and Civil Liberties Board, set up in 2004, is so closely tied to the administration that it has to get permission from the Attorney General for any documents it wants, and without subpoena powers, its lack of independence is further enforced.

It took two more years for this phantom board to hold its first public hearing last Dec. 5. There its sole Democratic member, attorney Lanny Davis previously known for his fairness said in answer to criticisms of the board's lack of independence:

"Congress put us in the office of the president, we didn't. Had Congress wanted us to be an incensement agency, it would have made us independent."

Then why did Mr. Davis accept the president's nomination of him to sit on this "guardian" civil-liberties board constructed of papier-mache? He has since said, however, that he would be receptive to legislation to make the board a more credible watchdog.

At the public hearing, this modern version of a Potemkin village fake structures ordered by the Russian czars was exposed crisply by David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union. Mr. Keene has proved consistently as in his concerns with the Patriot Act that classic conservatives can coexist with across-the-board civil libertarians.

"A president's good intentions," said Mr. Keene, as reported in the Dec. 6 Newsday, "do not put him above the law. We continue to be troubled by the argument that a president has no obligation because of the inherent-powers doctrine to follow the law or respect other constitutional guarantees whenever he invokes national security as justification."

Accordingly, since this Privacy and Civil Liberties Board is, indeed, as Mr. Davis says, in the very Office of the President who is a true believer in the sweeping powers of "the unitary executive" how much confidence can we have in it?

In the new Congress, Reps. Carolyn Maloney, New York Democrat, and Christopher Shays, Connecticut Republican, are likely to reintroduce legislation to make this oversight board live up to its name. As Mrs. Maloney said on FoxNews.com:

"The current board doesn't have the power or independence to examine the protection of our civil liberties in an effective or timely fashion. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Privacy Potemkin Village; A Toothless Civil-Liberties Watchdog
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.