Monday, March 03, 2008

Bush Guts Intelligence Oversight Board

On Friday afternoon the White House posted without fanfare a new Executive Order that revamps an important though little known intelligence board. There are a few minor changes, but the most radical revision appears to be that the board has now been stripped of nearly all its powers to investigate and check illegal intelligence activities. It's difficult to see what legitimate reasons there could have been for gutting the oversight activities of the board in this way, and the WH has not explained the changes.

And perhaps not coincidentally, the board has been renamed. Under the older Executive Order from 1993, it was called the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB). Now it has been renamed the President's Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB), suggesting perhaps that the Bush administration had domestic intelligence activities in mind while making these revisions.