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Panel Calls For Rights Assessment

A federal commission is calling on President Bush to create an advisory board to assess the impact on Americans' civil liberties of such anti-terrorism moves as the Patriot Act.

The panel, led by James Gilmore, a former Virginia governor and Republican national chairman, was presenting that and other recommendations at a news conference Monday.

According to advance reports, the commission was expressing concern that the administration has failed to develop a comprehensive, forward-looking strategy to combat terrorism more than two years after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Time magazine over the weekend quoted an unidentified source as saying the new Homeland Security Department is focused on "the crisis of the moment," yet no one in the administration was examining "the broader issues of economic security and societal stability."

On civil liberties, the panel sought greater oversight of any use of U.S. spy satellites on targets in the United States.

A panel should be convened to study such issues, and should include both Republicans and Democrats, as well as academics and officials from the private sector, it said.

The terrorism commission, composed of federal, state and local officials, was created after the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Its formal name is the Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction.

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