Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast, Episode #23: An Interview with Congressman Mike Pompeo

Stewart Baker
Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 7:51 AM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

This week’s interview is with Rep. Mike Pompeo, a member of the House Intelligence Committee who joined the House in 2010 after three careers, any one of which would have been enough for an ordinary man.  First in his class in West Point, he left the Army to study law at Harvard, where he made law review, then founded a successful aviation business, and went on to run an oil services company. Rep. Pompeo weighs in on the USA Freedom Act, which passed the House overwhelmingly but ran into trouble at its first Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.  (Full disclosure: some of that trouble was inspired by my testimony.)  We explore the bill’s flaws, its House support, and the prospects (high) that the bill will die in this Congress and will return for hurry-up consideration as section 215 faces sunset in mid 2015.  Asked about Snowden, Rep. Pompeo brings up the little-publicized finding that 90% of what he took was straight military intelligence that discloses extraordinarily sensitive secrets with no apparent scandal value.  This material hasn’t been used in any press stories, which raises questions about why it was taken and who it was given to.  For a guy who purports to oppose untargeted mass collection of sensitive data, Snowden sure did a lot of it.  The interview closes with Rep. Pompeo’s thoughts on the CIA-SSCI fight and the Bergdahl-Taliban swap. In other NSA news, German prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into the tapping of Angela Merkel’s phone but not the hacking of her computer.  Apparently the Germans only investigate electronic spying by countries that remind them of communist authoritarian regimes, but not spying by, you know, actual communist authoritarians.  And EFF still wants NSA to hang on to more Americans’ records than NSA wants to keep.  EFF asks the courts to order that NSA retain records that would otherwise be destroyed under NSA’s standard privacy policy.  The wages of hypocrisy turn out to be modest.  The court has rejected EFF’s demand. We return as well to the European Court of Justice’s “right to be forgotten” decision, and Google’s effort to implement it.  Not content with mocking the decision, I’ve decided to hack it, filing multiple requests to have European search requests censored on grounds ranging from “this search engine makes me look fat” to “these links criticize my political views.”  We’ll keep you posted on how those requests fare at Google and the data protection authorities. And in a transatlantic contest to trash free expression rights, New York’s entry is a stunningly overbroad ban on cyberbullying. Mike Vatis has the story. We dig a bit into Google’s decision to promote more encryption, shaming other email providers and offering end-to-end encryption as a way of thwarting even lawful warrants.  The fallout for governments from the Snowden leaks continues to get worse. Michael explains how stingray cell phone location systems work, and why the US marshals might seize stingray records from the Florida police. And, with Facebook and Google both talking about using satellites to provide internet service to developing countries, Stephanie Roy digs into the regulatory issues they’re likely to face – including (you knew we’d ask about it) government wiretap requirements.

Stewart A. Baker is a partner in the Washington office of Steptoe & Johnson LLP. He returned to the firm following 3½ years at the Department of Homeland Security as its first Assistant Secretary for Policy. He earlier served as general counsel of the National Security Agency.

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