Question--What's the most important federal agency that only exists in theory? Answer--The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.
Originally created by the Bush Administration as a toothless tiger to do the bidding of the White House, the PCOB was recreated by the Congress 3 years ago as an independent agency to monitor the civil liberties consequences of the "war on terror" http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL34385.pdf
President Bush ignored his responsibility to nominate the 5 members of the Board until the bitter end of his term and then nominated only one of the two minority a.k.a. Democratic members he was required to appoint. A justifiably miffed Congress never acted on the incomplete roster of last minute appointments by the lame duck President.
President Obama has yet to propose a single member.
The recent revelation by the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/17/us/17nsa.html?scp=2&sq=NSA&st=cse
that the intelligence agencies have been abusing even the expansive authority given to them to conduct warrantless internet and phone tapping is a perfect example of why a fully functioning PCOB with strong investigatory powers needs to be brought to life.
President Obama should make his appointments now and the Board should be given sufficient resources to do its job and a commitment from the Administration that its subpoenas will be enforced.