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Expert urges Obama to balance liberties with fighting terrorism

November 12, 2008 by  

Can personal liberties be balanced with fight against terrorism?The protection of civil liberties and the fight against terrorism should be able to exist comfortably side-by-side under a new administration, an expert has suggested.

Lanny Davis, who served as a member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board for two years, wrote on a Fox News blog that President-elect Barack Obama’s national security transition team should assess the effectiveness of the presidentially appointed panel before his inauguration.

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board was created by the 2004 Intelligence Reform Act, after the idea was recommended by the Sept. 11 commission.

Davis describes how civil liberties and privacy concerns were a daily matter for those who served on the board, in contrast with public perceptions about how the government views these issues.

However, he also raises issue with the fact that the panel was initially organized so that it reported the office of the president – which he claims undermines its independence.

"I was very troubled by what I believed to be the absence of serious legal and constitutional authority, judicial review and congressional oversight over the program," Davis wrote.

In the run-up to the election, Obama’s views regarding warrantless government surveillance of suspected terrorists briefly created controversy among his supporters.

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