Obama to meet with civil liberties board amid snooping controversy

Published June 21, 2013

| FoxNews.com

President Obama will meet with a federal privacy and civil liberties board for the first time Friday in the wake of disclosures about secret government surveillance programs.

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is a little-known federal oversight organization. The meeting was arranged as part of the president's pledge to engage a range of stakeholders on privacy issues, according to a senior administration official.

Obama has said the board will play a key role in addressing the public's concerns about the government's sweeping collection of phone and Internet records.

Obama is also considering declassifying more details about the data-mining. He has tasked the director of national intelligence with reviewing a secret federal intelligence court's opinions and filings relevant to the programs to determine whether additional information can be made public.

The government already has lifted some of secrecy surrounding the programs following disclosures about their existence by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

The privacy board was created in 2004 but has operated fitfully ever since, given congressional infighting and at times, censorship by government lawyers. The board was dormant during Obama's first term and only became fully functional in May, before the NSA programs became public.

The board's chairman, David Medine, said the five-member group has a "broad range of questions" to ask about the NSA's widespread collection programs. The board was given a classified briefing on the programs last week and plans to release a report eventually with recommendations for the government.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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