Newly active civil liberties oversight board hears testimony on NSA surveillance

President Barack Obama directed an oversight board to scrutinize the government's secret surveillance system, and on Tuesday the board opens a daylong hearing — its first public event since disclosure of the spying operations.

Civil liberties activists, a retired federal judge and a former Bush administration lawyer are among 16 experts testifying before the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board about the National Security Agency's surveillance. The board's five members include an Internet freedom advocate and two former Bush lawyers who helped expand the government's national security authority.

After Edward Snowden began exposing the NSA's operations last month, Obama told the board to lead a "national conversation" about the secret programs. The group has received secret briefings from national security officials, and it plans a comprehensive inquiry and public report.