Obama meets with civil liberties board for first time

June 22, 2013 at 1:13 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, June 22 (UPI) -- The White House said U.S. President Barack Obama promised a federal oversight board "access to all the materials they need" to evaluate government surveillance.

Obama met Friday with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, created by Congress to protect civil liberties.

"The president believes that PCLOB can be an important part of the national conversation on these issues," White House press secretary Jay Carney said. "But in the coming weeks the president and the members of his administration will begin meeting with a range of stakeholders about protecting privacy in the digital era."

A senior White House official whose name was reported called the meeting "a candid conversation about the dual imperatives of safeguarding our national security and protecting the privacy and civil liberties of American citizens."

The officials aid Obama "committed to providing them with access to all the materials they would need to fulfill their oversight and advisory functions."

Angela Canterbury, director of public policy with the Project on Government Oversight, told The Hill the meeting was "a hopeful sign."

"It tells me that he is taking more seriously the concerns about privacy and civil liberties that we and others have raised," she said.

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