In an Axios event this morning, House Intelligence Committee and Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee Member Swalwell Says: “We never had a hearing with the FBI, the NSA, the CIA”
Washington, D.C. – Today, during an Axios event sponsored by TechNet, Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA) called for the CIA, FBI, and NSA to weigh in on the national security risk of antitrust legislation that targets America’s leading tech companies. In an interview with Axios’ Margaret Talev, Swalwell, who is a member of the House Intelligence Committee and Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, noted concerns from national security experts and called specifically for hearings with intelligence and law enforcement agencies in front of relevant House committees.
“We never had a hearing with the FBI, the NSA, the CIA, about what risks there are with this legislation. I would say that could probably answer a lot of questions about why the Department of Justice is supporting this,” said Rep. Swalwell.
Earlier this week, Rep. Swalwell wrote an op-ed where he called for a “pause” on antitrust legislation.”[W]e must be willing to pause so that a deep dive can be conducted to truly understand the consequences of these reforms,” he wrote. “After all, no member of Congress wants to willingly compromise our safety and blunt our domestic innovation.”
“We can’t rush tech antitrust legislation,” said TechNet President and CEO Linda Moore. “There are real concerns about how these bills could undermine America’s national security. We urge Congress to listen to Rep. Swalwell, national security leaders from both sides of the aisle, and numerous others who are deeply concerned with this legislation. Congress should conduct a thorough review of this package of bills to avoid unintended consequences that could threaten our security and American competitiveness.”
In April, several former national security and intelligence officials including Leon Panetta, James Clapper, Adm. Mike Rogers, Sec. Jeh Johnson, and Mike Morrell sent a letter to Congress writing: “In the face of these growing threats, U.S. policymakers must not inadvertently hamper the ability of U.S. technology platforms to counter increasing disinformation and cybersecurity risks… We call on the congressional committees with national security jurisdiction – including the Armed Services Committees, Intelligence Committees, and Homeland Security Committees in both the House and Senate – to conduct a review of any legislation that could hinder America’s key technology companies in the fight against cyber and national security risks emanating from Russia’s and China’s growing digital authoritarianism.”
During today’s event, Swalwell also discussed the importance of addressing the need for a federal privacy law to protect and secure American’s data. “Breaking up [tech] companies does nothing, as I said, to affect privacy, disinformation, algorithms, Section 230” Swalwell said, “and those things are what most people are worried about.”
Since 2018, 37 states have passed or introduced 72 different, and often conflicting, data privacy laws. According to a recent study conducted by ITIF, failure to pass a federal privacy law would cost our economy more than $1 trillion over ten years, with more than $200 billion being paid by small businesses.
Today’s event also included discussions with Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Federal Trade Commissioner Noah Phillips.