Posts Tagged ‘rep. mike rogers’

Corporate and national security interests align in battle over CISPA

Posted on: April 23rd, 2012 by Teddy Wilson 3 Comments

Photo: Flickr/University of Exeter

After privacy activists and internet companies joined forces to derail the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), they are now on opposing sides in a fight over another piece of legislation seeking to regulate the internet. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) was introduced into the House of Representatives as HR 3523, and has 112 cosponsors. The legislation is scheduled to be voted on by the House on Wednesday. While lawmakers and corporate interests supporting the bill say it is necessary to help prevent cyber attacks, opponents claim that it is a federal overreach on par with SOPA.

Introduced by Michigan Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, CISPA was referred to the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and was voted out of committee in December. The committee released a statement pointing to a number of reasons it believes the bill should be supported. The claims include that it helps businesses defend themselves from attacks, it keeps the federal government’s hands off the internet, protects Americans’ privacy, does not impose new federal regulations or mandates, and was written in the open in a bipartisan way.

If enacted it would allow the United States government and private companies to communicate about cyber security threats and share information. Opponents point to a clause in the bill stating that the information will be shared “notwithstanding any law,” which means that CISPA trumps any federal or state privacy law that currently prohibits disclosure of private information. In addition there are no limitations on what the information can be used for or how long it can be stored. The legislation also lacks transparency, as the sharing authorized by CISPA is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Unlike SOPA, internet and technology companies have been very supportive of the proposed law. Companies including AT&T, IBM and Verizon are supporting the legislation, and those and 25 other companies have written letters to Congress in support of CISPA. Tim McKone, AT&T executive vice president, wrote that AT&T supports CISPA “as an important and positive step in strengthening cybersecurity collaboration. The sharing of cyber threat and attack information is an essential component of an effective cyber-defense strategy, and the legislation helps to provide greater clarity for private sector entities.”

Some of the same companies that led the fight against SOPA and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) are supporting CISPA. Joel Kaplan, the Vice President of U.S. public policy at Facebook, wrote that CISPA “removes burdensome rules that currently can inhibit protection of the cyber ecosystem, and helps provide a more established structure for sharing within the cyber community while still respecting privacy rights.” Behind the scenes, Google helped craft the legislation. Rep. Rogers told the Hill that Google has “been helpful and supportive of trying to find the right language in the bill.”

Digital Trends has compiled a list of more than 800 companies and organizations that have provided either direct or indirect support for CISPA. In addition to internet and telecom companies, supporters include technology giants such as Microsoft and powerful defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin. Hundreds of companies are represented by powerful trade groups that support CISPA including the the Business Roundtable, Information Technology Industry Council, and National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

The Business Roundtable, which includes Bank of America, ExxonMobil, and General Electric as members, spends millions lobbying congress every year. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, in 2011 the group spent $12.2 million lobbying on a range of issues from taxes to immigration. Among the legislation that the Business Roundtable has lobbied on is CISPA. Only Cisco Systems (also a member of the Business Roundtable) and National Cable & Telecommunications Association have lobbied as much the Business Roundtable for CISPA.

It is not just corporate interests that have been lobbying for CISPA. The National Security Agency (NSA) has been pushing to expand its role in preventing cyber attacks to the private sector. NSA officials have argued for expanded legal authority for the agency, and the ability to monitor the internet traffic of companies involved in critical infrastructure systems designated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). While the NSA has issued reassurances that private information will not be monitored, the Obama Administration has blocked attempts by the agency to expand its role.

A grassroots coalition of civil liberties organizations and online activists have organized in opposition of CISPA, but without online giants such as Facebook and Wikipedia they have been unable to generate much public outcry. Organizations such as Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF), the Sunlight Foundation, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have been mobilizing online activists through social media, and encouraging people to contact their representatives in congress to urge them to vote against the bill.

The co-sponsors of CISPA include seven lawmakers from the Texas congressional delegation. Rep. Michael Burgess, Rep. John Carter, Rep. Michael Conaway, Rep. Henry Cuellar, Rep. Ralph Hall, Rep. Michael McCaul, and Rep. Pete Olson are all co-sponsors. One notable congressman is not among the list of cosponsors. Rep. Lamar Smith who was the architect and primary supporter of SOPA, has not signed on to cosponsor CISPA. As the Texas Independent reported, because of SOPA, Smith was targeted by online grassroots activists for defeat in the Texas Republican primary.

According to information compiled by MapLight, campaign contributions from interest groups supporting CISPA are twelve times the amount of contributions from groups opposed. During the 2012 election cycle $31.5 million has been contributed by supporters compared to the $2.5 million from opponents. Burgess received $84,750 in campaign contributions from supporters of CISPA. Carter received $120,000, Conaway received $68,250, Cuellar received $51,400, Hall received $79,434, McCaul received $159,044, and Olson received $72,300 all from supporters of CISPA.

Top stories photo credit: Flickr/photosteve101

Michigan Republicans sought stimulus funds, argued money would generate jobs

Posted on: November 2nd, 2011 by The American Independent No Comments

Newsweek reveals a series of newly released documents from the Department of Energy that shows all of the Republican members of the Michigan congressional delegation seeking stimulus funding for projects in the state on the grounds that such spending would create jobs — despite frequently claiming that the stimulus bill created no jobs.
The story names Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) as one of several dozen Republican legislators who have slammed the Obama stimulus plan for not creating any jobs while simultaneously seeking funding that, they say, would create lots of jobs.

In Nov. 2010, in fact, Obama grilled Energy Secretary Steven Chu on the subject, challenging him to document how many jobs his agency’s stimulus spending had created — only five weeks after writing the last of ten letters to Chu asking for funding for solar and other energy projects in Michigan, arguing that those projects would create some 5,000 jobs in the state.

But Upton is hardly alone in this regard. Those letters were signed by all of the members of the Michigan congressional delegation, including several others who have argued that the stimulus bill has not created any jobs. Rep. Mike Rogers, for example, has claimed that stimulus spending only created one job in his district and very few in the state of Michigan.

Then-Rep. Pete Hoekstra, now running for the Republican nomination to challenge for Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s seat, went on CNN and said that the stimulus spending “has not helped my community or helped the state.” But he signed all of those letters arguing that spending on Michigan stimulus projects would create thousands of jobs.

Rep. Candice Miller likewise has said that the stimulus bill “has failed to provide the promised jobs.” Rep. Dave Camp has made the same claim:

“Michigan, which consistently has the nation’s highest unemployment rate, has been particularly hard-hit by the failings of the stimulus plan,” said Camp. “It is clear from today’s jobs report that stimulus has failed to do what it promised and failed to create jobs for American workers. Eight months after the President signed the stimulus bill, we are all still asking: where are the jobs?”

Rep. Thad McCotter gave a speech on the House floor asking, “Where are the jobs?”

It seems that every one of these legislators firmly believe that stimulus spending will create jobs in Michigan, which would be good for them politically, but somehow creates a negative number of jobs everywhere else. And Republican legislators in every other state seem to think the same thing of their state.

Michigan’s Rep. Rogers backs Obama on bin Laden photos

Posted on: May 5th, 2011 by The American Independent No Comments

Despite criticism from some of his fellow conservatives, Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, supports the Obama administration’s decision not to release the photos of Bin Laden after he was killed by American special forces in Pakistan.

Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers, a Republican from Michigan, said in a statement that he doesn’t “want to make the job of our troops serving in places like Iraq and Afghanistan any harder than it already is.” …

Rogers said people who don’t believe the terrorist leader is dead won’t be convinced by a photograph, anyway.

“[There] is a real risk that releasing the photos will only serve to inflame public opinion in the Middle East,” Rogers said…

“Imagine how the American people would react if Al Qaida killed one of our troops or military leaders, and put photos of the body on the Internet,” Rogers said in a statement. “Osama bin Laden is not a trophy – he is dead and let’s now focus on continuing the fight until Al Qaida has been eliminated.”

Others, including Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sarah Palin, have criticized the administration for not releasing the photos.

Michigan’s Rep. Amash plans bill against military action in Libya

Posted on: March 29th, 2011 by The American Independent No Comments

Rep. Mike Rogers may support President Obama’s decision to use U.S. forces in Libya but his Republican colleague in the Michigan delegation, Rep. Justin Amash, is proposing a bill to put a stop to the action unless Congress authorizes the use of force.

Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan, a freshman, and Timothy Johnson of Illinois sent a letter to House colleagues on Monday seeking support for their legislation that they said they would introduce on Tuesday. The bill would stop the use of military force against Libya until Obama seeks and receives authorization from Congress.

During the 2008 campaign, Obama himself said that the president does not have the constitutional authority to order military action “in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

Rep. Rogers won’t say whether he supports fracking transparency

Posted on: March 28th, 2011 by The American Independent No Comments

Rep. Mike Rogers, replying to a letter from a constituent, refused to say whether he would support a bill that would require natural gas companies to reveal what chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, of gas deposits. His reply said:

Thank you for contacting me regarding your support for the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act. I appreciate you contacting me regarding this issue.

As you may know, the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act (H.R. 1084) was introduced by Representative Diana DeGette on March 15, 2011. This legislation would amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to require oil and gas companies to disclose the chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing operations. Upon introduction, this bill was referred to the Energy & Commerce, on which I serve. Please be assured, should this legislation come before me for a vote, I will be certain to keep your thoughts in mind.

Thank you again for contacting me regarding this issue. If you have any other questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

A prediction: If and when this bill comes up in committee, the Republicans — including Michigan’s Rogers and Fred Upton, chair of that committee — will vote against it unanimously.

Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers in favor of bombing Libya

Posted on: March 21st, 2011 by The American Independent No Comments

As American forces began bombing targets in Libya over the weekend, Rep. Mike Rogers from Michigan’s 8th District — chairman of the House Intelligence Committee — met with President Obama at the White House and supported the president’s actions:

“It’s an incredibly important thing that we show the support not only for our European allies but the Arab league countries who have stepped up in an unprecedented way,” Rep. Mike Rogers, R-MI, told ABC News. “This is truly an international effort, and absolutely we should play a supporting role here.” …

“This is not going to be a short-term, two-day operation,” Rogers said. “Even if Ghadafi throws up his hands and gives up, I think it’s going to be a long-term event.”

Even so, Rogers said he does not believe President Obama needs congressional authorization to use the U.S. military to help enforce a no-fly zone.

“I don’t think he needs it,” he said. “He was smart to bring up members of Congress — both parties — put us in the Situation Room, and talk about what he’s planning to do, to try to build congressional support. I think that was the right decision. We do have to be in this together. There’s a lot going on in the world; the United States is in a lot of places right now. We need to do this together if we’re going to do it at all.”

Disagreeing with him is Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Indiana), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and one of the GOP’s top experts on military matters. During hearings Thursday he said:

“In this broad context, if the Obama administration decides to impose a no-fly zone or take other significant military action in Libya, I believe it should first seek a Congressional debate on a declaration of war under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution,” Lugar said.

Also disagreeing with President Obama is 2008 candidate Obama. During the 2008 campaign, as Glenn Greenwald points out, both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton adamantly maintained that the only circumstances in which the president has the authority to initiate military action without the authorization of Congress is in self-defense or in response to an imminent threat.

Q. In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites — a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?)

OBAMA: The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent.