PCLOB Reaffirms Need for Transparency

Statement of Patrice McDermott, Executive Director of OpenTheGovernment.org on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board's report on the NSA's bul collection program:

Today’s report from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board (PCLOB) strongly reaffirms the public’s right to know how the government views the limits and bounds of the law. The National Security Agency’s bulk collection of American’s telephone records far surpasses the straight-forward language of the PATRIOT Act. Secret interpretations of law, either by the courts or by the executive branch, have no place in a democratic society. The PCLOB recognized this and has made strong recommendations to counter this culture of secrecy. The recommendations are what we hoped to hear from President Obama, given his promise of open government. We urge the President begin a process that requires greater transparency for both current and future surveillance and intelligence community programs. Also, as President Obama placed the ball for many reforms clearly in Congress’ court, we call on Congress to heed the PCLOB’s advice, and include strong transparency in any legislation addressing domestic surveillance.

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