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 Post subject: Bush dials back Watergate-era reforms on spying safeguards
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 2:35 pm 
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Bush dials back Watergate-era reforms on spying safeguards

Executive order weakens intelligence oversight board



A little-noticed executive order President Bush signed last month dials back checks on the Intelligence Community that have been in place since revelations that spy agencies abused their power in the 1960s and 70s.

The Boston Globe's Charlie Savage, who is among the top reporters uncovering Bush administration secrecy, shines some light on the new order and its implications in an article Friday.

Almost 32 years to the day after President Ford created an independent Intelligence Oversight Board made up of private citizens with top-level clearances to ferret out illegal spying activities, President Bush issued an executive order that stripped the board of much of its authority.

[...]

The board's investigations and reports have been mostly kept secret. But the Clinton administration provided a rare window into the panel's capabilities in 1996 by publishing a board report faulting the CIA for not adequately informing Congress about putting known torturers and killers in Guatemala on its payroll.

But Bush downsized the board's mandate to be an aggressive watchdog against such problems in an executive order issued on Feb. 29, the eve of the anniversary of the day Ford's order took effect. The White House said the timing of the new order was "purely coincidental."

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