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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is holding his first meeting with a privacy and civil liberties board Friday as he seeks to make good on his pledge to have a public discussion about secretive government surveillance programs.

Obama has said the little-known Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board will play a key role in that effort. The federal oversight board reviews anti-terror programs to ensure that privacy concerns are taken into account.

The president is also tasking the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, to consider declassifying more details about the government's collection of U.S. phone and Internet records. Obama is specifically asking Clapper to review possible declassification of opinions from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which approves the surveillance efforts.

Obama's meeting with the board was taking place Friday afternoon, but the White House wasn't planning to allow press coverage.

The government has already lifted some of the secrecy surrounding the programs following disclosures earlier this month about their existence by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. But the legal opinions from the highly secretive court remain private.

The privacy board was created in 2004 but has operated fitfully ever since, given congressional infighting and at times, censorship by government lawyers. The board was dormant during Obama's first term and only became fully functional in May, before the NSA programs became public.

The board's chairman, David Medine, said the five-member group has a "broad range of questions" to ask about the NSA's widespread collection programs. The board was given a classified briefing on the programs last week and plans to release a report eventually with recommendations for the government.

Follow Julie Pace at on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC
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LOS ANGELES (AP) - Authorities say a Canadian woman whose body was discovered in a downtown Los Angeles hotel's rooftop water tank accidentally drowned.

 

   Coroner's Lt. Fred Corral says 21-year-old Elisa Lam's cause of death was ruled an accident on Thursday. Corral says the body had no sign of trauma indicating foul play. Lam also had bipolar disorder.

 

   Lam traveled alone to Los Angeles from Vancouver, British Columbia, on Jan. 26 and was last seen five days later by workers at the historic Cecil Hotel near Skid Row.

 

   Before she died, hotel surveillance footage showed Lam inside an elevator pushing buttons and sticking her head out the doors, looking in both directions.

   Lam's body was found on Feb. 19 in the water tank after hotel guests complained of low water pressure.

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DETROIT (AP) - A videographer for a reality television show crew filming a Detroit police raid that left a 7-year-old girl dead has pleaded no contest to obstruction of justice.

 

   The Wayne County prosecutor's office says a perjury charge against Allison Howard was dismissed Thursday. Howard will serve 1{ to 2 years' probation in Massachusetts.

 

   A crew from cable's "The First 48" was shadowing police during a 2010 search for a murder suspect.

 

   Aiyana Stanley-Jones was asleep on a sofa when she was shot during the raid on her home. Howard was accused of withholding video of the raid from investigators.

 

   Officer Joseph Weekley is charged with involuntary manslaughter in Aiyana's slaying. A judge declared a mistrial Tuesday after jurors failed to reach a verdict in Weekley's trial.

 
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