08.02.12

Leahy Hails Confirmation Of Four PCLOB Nominees, Calls For Confirmation of Board’s Chairman

WASHINGTON (Thursday, August 2, 2012) -- The Senate tonight confirmed four of the five pending nominees to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. The Board was originally created by Congress in 2004, at the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, and it was originally located within the Executive Office of the President. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, later worked to make the Board an independent entity within the Executive Branch.

The nominations of James Dempsey, Elisabeth Collins Cook, Rachel Brand and Patricia Wald to serve on the PCLOB were unanimously confirmed; the Senate did not act on the nomination of David Medine to serve as the board’s chairman. All five of the nominees testified before the Judiciary Committee in April, and were approved by the Committee in May.

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT),

Chairman, Senate Committee On

Confirmation of Nominees To The Privacy And Civil Liberties Oversight Board

August 2, 2012

 

I commend the Senate for confirming four of the President’s bipartisan nominees to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB).  The Judiciary Committee favorably reported all five of the President’s nominees to this vital board in May.  I hope that the Senate will promptly act on the nomination of David Medine to chair the PCLOB, so that the board can be restored to its full strength.  

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is an essential part of our national security strategy and an important guardian of Americans’ privacy rights and civil liberties. Confirming all of the President’s nominees to this board takes on an added urgency as the Senate debates cybersecurity legislation that could impact the privacy rights and civil liberties of all Americans.

When I and many others in Congress worked to create this board, we did so to ensure that our fundamental rights and liberties would be preserved as the Government take steps to better secure our Nation after the tragic events of September 11, 2001.  The PCLOB’s insights are particularly needed as the Congress and the executive branch consider various proposals to enhance the Nation’s cybersecurity.  In the digital age, we must do more to protect our Nation from cyberattacks.  But, we must do so in a way that protects privacy and respects our fundamental freedoms.  

Protecting national security and protecting Americans’ fundamental rights are not mutually exclusive goals.  We can – and must – do both.  A fully reconstituted PCLOB will help ensure that we do.  As the 9/11 Commission observed in its influential report to the American people: “[I]f our liberties are curtailed, we lose the values that we are struggling to defend.”  Again, I commend the Senate for confirming these outstanding nominees to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.   I urge the Senate to promptly consider on the nomination of David Medine to Chair this important board.

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