Analysis: Obama Gives Nod to Transparency ... in Private

This is an excerpt from The Edge, the National Journal's daily look at today in Washington -- and what's coming next. The email features analysis from NJ's top correspondents, the biggest stories of the day -- and always a few surprises. To subscribe, click here.

Stung by the uproar over secretive government surveillance, President Obama took steps Friday to assure Americans that he's not trampling on the Bill of Rights.

First, he nominated as FBI director a former George W. Bush official best known for a dramatic hospital standoff against warrantless wiretapping.

In 2004, then-Deputy Attorney General James Comey rushed to bedside of his ailing boss, John Ashcroft, to stop two senior White House officials from securing the attorney general's approval to reauthorize the controversial post-9/11 program.

In a Rose Garden ceremony, Obama praised Comey for standing against "something he felt was fundamentally wrong."

Also Friday, the president met for the first time with a privacy and civil liberties board that is supposed to provide oversight of anti-terror programs. Created in 2004, the board was dormant during Obama's first term, and only became functional in May.

Fittingly, the meeting was private.

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